Petrified Forest National Park (What To Know Before You Go)

Petrified Forest National Park is in the northeastern region of Arizona. The Rainbow Forest, to the south, is densely forested with colourful petrified wood. The Rainbow Forest Museum, with its palaeontology exhibits and numerous trail access points, is located here. The petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock and the ruined village of Puerco Pueblo are located in the park's centre.

The Petrified Forest is famous for its fossils, particularly fallen trees from the Late Triassic Epoch, which occurred approximately 225 million years ago. The sediments that contain the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colourful Chinle Formation, which gives rise to the Painted Desert's name.

Petrified Forest National Park

There are also over 350 Native American sites dating back over 13,000 years, as well as one of the most diverse collections of prehistoric pottery fragments in the Southwest.

Over 52,000 acres of designated Wilderness provide wide-open spaces for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and even geocaching.

The desert appears to be a blank canvas for an artist. The land is covered in brilliantly coloured mudstones and clays as far as the eye can see. They contain bentonite, a clay formed by the transformation of volcanic ash.

Every year, over 800,000 people visit the Petrified Forest National Park. The best way to see the park is by walking. Many kilometres of walking trails are maintained by the National Park Service.

The Painted Desert Rim trail provides a good opportunity for visitors to see the park's wildlife. Rabbits and lizards are common. Snakes and foxes are, too.

The best times to see animals are early in the morning or late in the evening. This is also when the sun makes the Painted Desert look its most colourful and spectacular.

Is it worthwhile to visit the Petrified Forest National Park?

Visiting Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park is unquestionably worthwhile. Don't miss the Painted Desert, Puerco Pueblo, or hiking the Blue Mesa. And it's all right on famous Route 66.

How long does it take to drive through Petrified Forest?

The 28-mile road through the park takes at least 45 minutes to drive, but to truly experience it, allow at least a couple of hours to drive Blue Mesa Road, take a hike and stop at the scenic overlooks along the way.

What can you make out of petrified wood?

Petrified wood is limited used in jewellery, preferring instead to be used as a decorative piece such as book ends, table tops, clock faces, or other ornamental objects. Petrified wood was used to build a number of Ancestral Puebloan structures near Petrified Forest National Park, including the Agate House Pueblo.

What is the closest city to the Petrified Forest?

Petrified Forest National Park, located near the town of Holbrook in Northern Arizona and stretching for miles on both sides of Interstate 40, is a high-desert geologic treasure trove.

Is the Petrified Forest open to the public?

Except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Petrified Forest National Park is open every day of the year. During the winter, the park may be closed until the roads are safe to travel on.

Is it possible to camp in Petrified Forest National Park?

The park does not allow RVs, cars, or front-country camping. There will be no boondocking, dispersed or "primitive" camping, or simply pulling into a parking area. Only backpacking/hiking into the designated Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area, at least a mile from your vehicle, is permitted to spend the night in the park.

Best Time to Visit Petrified Forest National Park

The fall is a great time to visit the park because of the lower traffic, milder temperatures, and less precipitation, but wildflowers bloom from March to October.

Top Places to Visit Around Petrified Forest National Park

  • Painted Desert
  • Crystal Forest Trail
  • Blue Mesa
  • Rainbow Forest Museum
  • Jasper Forest
  • Devil's Playground
  • Rainbow Forest
  • Giant Logs Loop
  • Newspaper Rock
  • Painted Desert Inn
  • Painted Desert Visitor Center
  • Agate Bridge