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“Interesting place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve

Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve
Holoholokai Beach Park, Mauna Lani Resort, Island of Hawaii, HI
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Owner description: Located at the Orchid at Mauna Lani.
Mesa, AZ
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Interesting place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

A nice 40 minute or so hike, worth the visit. Interesting vibe to the place. We were there on an overcast afternoon. Follow driving instructions by previous commentors here and do not follow the google map route - leads somewhere else. Another option is to find the main turn from the highway and then follow signs.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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51 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
199 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Another good historical site in Kohala Coast area”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

One of the few places in BI where you could observe Hawaiian Petroglyphs. The other one is located inside the Volcanoes National Park. Puako Petroglyphs has much larger collections than the one in VNP.
It's an unshaded trail. Do bring bottled waters and hat.
We hiked in with flip-flop but it's unwise to do that since you're walking through unpaved terrain.
The preservation effort has made this treasure open to the public so it is important that we appreciate it by not rubbing or adding to the petroglyphs.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old Saybrook, CT
Level Contributor
311 reviews
135 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“Hot Hot Hot”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

Staying at the Fairmont Orchid, the Petroglyph park is next door and an easy walk to the site. However once you get to the site, the walk through the trees, roots and lava is difficult and very hot. Make certain to have sturdy shoes or you'll regret it. For the less adventurous, there is a grouping of petroglyphs at the beginning of the trail that is handicap accessible. You can get some great photos there as well as rubbings. Go early or late in the day so the light streams across the petroglyphs, otherwise they're very hard to see.
Watch out for the feral cats...

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Strange and Wonderful Walk to See Ancient Petroglyphs - Take Water and Take Your Time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

Recently my husband and I experienced the Puako Petroglyph Trail, an other-worldly hike ending in a huge, prehistoric petroglyph field that will spur your imagination and give you a true and eerie feel for ancient Hawaiian culture.

First of all, a little reading on Hawaiian petroglyphs before you go will enhance your experience - an internet search will yield a wealth of info and make you aware of the sacredness with which this site should be treated. Next, make sure and take WATER as this lava-field hike can be hot. Also, be warned as to the difficulty of the hike. It's true, as the literature says, that it's an easy distance (under a mile one way) and there is no climbing to speak of, but I found this hike moderately challenging due to the uneven path (watch your step and wear shoes, NOT flip-flops), the twisted overhead branches (watch your head), and the thorny kiawe undergrowth that lines the walkway - you won't be tempted to wander off! None of that should discourage you, though, as there are few places in the world to immerse yourself in an ancient and mysterious experience the way you can here.

The trail is located about 25 miles north of Kailua-Kona on the Kohala Coast. From Hwy. 19/ Queen K. Hwy., turn left on Mauna Lani Dr. at the Mauna Lani Resort. At the roundabout, bear right on N. Kaniku Dr. to Puako Petroglyph Trail & Holoholokai Beach Park - there are signs. There's plenty of free parking; at the Beach Park (just past the trailhead), there are restrooms, a shower, shaded picnic tables (with mongoose nearby), and pleasant walking along the beach

At the beginning of the trail is an area containing reproductions of some of the petroglyphs, a "rubbing" area since taking rubbings of the actual relics rubs them down and is prohibited. Halfway down the trail on the right is a lava cave and hidden chamber (if you're braver than we were) with a few petroglyphs outside. Once the trail crosses what looks like a road (it's actually a firebreak), the main viewing area is just ahead, roped off and containing close to 3000 petroglyphs. You can't walk on them so you need a zoom lens on your camera or binocs to see them all well. You can walk around the perimeter or head north of the main field and look for a sort-of trail and faded, spray-painted arrows to find other scattered petroglyphs, but be careful not to step on any.

The trail isn't crowded so it's quiet and peaceful. Keep an ear open for birds or movement in the brush - we got a view of the bright red Hawaiian apapane bird (up high) as well as of foraging sand grouse (down low). But don't try to walk and look for birds at the same time or you'll trip, bump your head, or impale yourself :). This unique experience is worth the risk.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
95 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Petroglyphs (called Ki'i pohaku in Hawaiian)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

The Malama Trail, which leads you to the petroglyphs, starts at the Holoholokai Park. You drive toward the Fairmont Orchid and will see the sign for the park and petroglyphs on your right just prior to arriving at the resort. There are restrooms at the park near the parking lot. Near the beginning of the Malama Trail, which starts at the northeast corner of the parking lot, are samples of some of the petroglyphs. These are provided for photos and rubbings as you are not allowed to walk on the actual petroglyph field. (Lava rock is porous and will crumble.) After a 15-20 minute walk along the trail which passes through a kiawe (mesquite) forest, you arrive at the field. The trail is rough with tree roots and rocks. Warning: kiawe trees have wicked thorns, so good walking shoes are required. My husband was stuck in the side of the foot, and I had a thorn embedded in the rubber sole of my sandal. There is a low lava rock wall encircling the petroglyph field. You will need to take some water along as this area is hot and dry. I would like to read more about the symbols and their possible meaning. The preserve contains over 3,000 petroglyphs including paddlers, sails, marchers, dancers, and family groups, as well as dogs, chickens, turtles, and deity symbols.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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