About Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Park (Malama Trail) on Big Island, Hawaii
The Malama Trail is your access trail for Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Park. In the park you’ll be able to view some of the 1200 petroglyphs discovered here. It’s considered one of the largest concentrations of rock art in the Hawaiian Islands. Archaeologists estimate that these were made during the span of the 1200s up to 1800 C.E.
Petroglyphs are artwork and symbols carved, scratched or pecked into a rock substrate to make a permanent mark. Ancient civilizations did this as rocks were an available canvas for such artistic expression and documentation. In Hawaii, the lava rock was a perfect surface for them to carve in depictions of animals, humans, and various shapes.
This hike is flat and just a half mile each way (the trailhead sign says 0.7 but it’s a bit shorter than that actually). Part of the path has shade, but this is a very hot and dry part of the Big Island so consider bringing some water and wearing a hat. The best time to view the petroglyphs is in the morning and late afternoon so they stand out better. This is also a cooler time for a hike in the Kona region. Bring sunglasses either way as they can make it easier to see the petroglyphs on the brightly colored reddish rock.
Be sure to wear normal shoes as the path is only partly paved and can be rough in places. Also there are hard thorns that can penetrate thin flip flops and soft soles. Don’t venture off the trail or beyond the viewing area as this can damage this sensitive archaeological site.
The trail begins from the parking lot for Holoholokai Beach Park in the Mauna Lani Resort. The beach park, Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District and Malama Trail are all open 6:30am to 6:30pm daily. To get there drive into the Mauna Lani Resort and follow signs for the beach park and petroglyph park.
- Holoholokai Beach Park Rd
Waimea, HI 96743
- Mauna Lani Resort
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