Hawaiians were prolific creators of petroglyphs, pictures carved into natural rock surfaces. Petroglyphs may be found on all the islands, but nowhere more numerous than on the island of Hawai`i. Hawaiians created petroglyphs for a variety of reasons. They recorded trips and communicated about what was happening; this class of petroglyphs is found on trails and boundaries. Hawaiians also created visual images to insure long life and health and to commemorate former evens and legends. Common representations are those connected to means of transportation, the family, and the supernatural. The meaning of some petroglyphs is not known. Hawaiians created petroglyphs both before and after contact with the Western world.
Olowalu contains one of the largest collections on the island of Maui with at least 72 petroglyphs. They are close to a natural rock overhang at the base of a cliff, which was probably used as a camping site or resting place, so it is probable that at least some of them were created by travelers using the `Iao-Olowalu Pass. Two panels of petroglyphs hold representations of many human forms, some in interaction and some holding objects such as spears and paddles. The petroglyphs also show dogs, horses, fish, outrigger canoes, early historic writing, circles and several indistinct forms. Unfortunately there is also graffiti from modern times.