Ancient Hawaiians made thousands of fascinating drawings etched in lava rock

While archaeologists debate the meanings of Hawaii’s ancient drawings etched into stone—petroglyphs—they exist in abundance on the lava landscapes of Hawaii Island. Thought to have communicated events past and present, or requests for human well-being and longevity, they are best seen before the sun is high in the sky. 

These collections of kii pohaku (petroglyphs) are open to the public:
• The 233-acre Puako Petroglyph Archeological Preserve on the Kohala Coast offers an easy trail that ends at the site of more than 1,000 carvings. Access is a short walk from The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii and Holoholokai Beach in the Mauna Lani Resort.

• Kings’ Trail or the Ala Kahakai Trail is an ancient corridor that traverses 175 miles along the Kohala Coast. Easy access to a section of it is located adjacent to the Waikoloa Kings’ Shops. Take a free, guided tour 9:30 a.m. every Thursday-Friday; meet lakeside by the Shops’ Island Fish & Chips, 808-886-8811.

• The Pu‘u Loa Petroglyph trail at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park offers an easy trek to a raised boardwalk for premium viewing.