Pu'uloa Petroglyphs

Pahoa, Hawaii

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The early Hawaiians left incised geometric designs and stylized human figures in the lava in groupings scattered all over the islands. The drawings are surely religious, but their exact meanings are unknown. Some, like circles with a dot in the center, are said to be receptacles for the umbilical cords of newborns that would help to protect the child. This lonely site overlooking the sea has one of the biggest and oldest collections of these petroglyphs, and is easy to reach by a short walk. The walk is shadeless and windy, leading you to wonder why such a desolate spot as this was chosen for a petroglyph site. There is very little vegetation except at the very beginning of the hike, where there are a few scraggly noni bushes. Beyond these, nothing but the intricate patterns of swirling pahoehoe lava underfoot distracts you until you reach the petroglyphs.

Pu'uloa Petroglyphs Professional Review and Guide

"The early Hawaiians left incised geometric designs and stylized human figures in the lava in groupings scattered all over the islands. The drawings are surely religious, but their exact meanings are unknown. Some, like circles with a dot in the center, are said to be receptacles for the umbilical cords of newborns that would help to protect the child. This lonely site overlooking the sea has one of the biggest and oldest collections of these petroglyphs, and is easy to reach by a short walk.

The walk is shadeless and windy, leading you to wonder why such a desolate spot as this was chosen for a petroglyph site. There is very little vegetation except at the very beginning of the hike, where there are a few scraggly noni bushes. Beyond these, nothing but the intricate patterns of swirling pahoehoe lava underfoot distracts you until you reach the petroglyphs."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Pahoa
Distance: 1.4
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Local Maps: USGS Makaopuhi and Kalapana
Driving Directions: Directions to Pu'uloa Petroglyphs

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May 2018