Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, is home to the largest collection of colorful petrified wood in the US. Like many parks, Petrified Forest was formerly a National Monument. It achieved National Park status in 1962.
Visitor Rating (write your own review below)
|Scenery||Desert dunes and badlands|
|Uniqueness||Largest concentration of colorful petrified wood in the US|
|Wildlife||Not much, but we did see one lone antelope|
|Diversity||Scenes vary throughout and can be seen by car or trail|
ILNP Park Review
In a Word “Colorful”
“I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” -Psalms 143:6
Our Visit We visited Petrified Forest in March as part of our 8-Park Southwestern tour. We visited for half a day on our way from Flagstaff, AZ to Canyon de Chelly, AZ
Our Weather Even in March, the weather was hot with temperatures in the 90s and clear skies.
Overall Impression If you only go to National Parks for the inspiring beauty, you can safely skip Petrified Forest. This is not an area I would call beautiful. If, however, you enjoy learning and seeing sights you can’t find anywhere else, Petrified Forest is a great place to spend a day. The most amazing thing about the wood (not actually wood at all, just minerals in the shape of the wood they replaced) is the color. In stark contrast to the brown and tan of the surrounding, seemingly lifeless desert, the logs are brilliant arrays of dark red, white, pink, black and yellow, and the scattered remains of a once-vibrant forest seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. In addition to the petrified wood, this Park also allows you to explore badlands and painted desert.
Favorite Spot Hiking along the Long Logs trail.
Minimum Time Required About 2 hours. This is just enough time to drive through the park, look out over the Painted Desert and hike the short trail through the Giant Logs area next to the Rainbow Forest Museum for a few minutes. The park is right off I-40, so it’s easy to take a quick detour. If you’re traveling from west to east, exit at US 180 in Holbrook, AZ and drive north through the park to get back to the interstate.
A Longer Visit On a full day visit, you can see plenty of petrified wood by visiting Giant Logs trail near the southern visitors center, but you won’t really appreciate just how much petrified wood is there unless you hike out a little. Long Logs trail is a great place to do just that–not too long, but away from the crowds. Even if you don’t hike the trail, drive to Blue Mesa and view the strange, purple-banded badlands. If you’ve spent a lot of time at other National Parks and Monuments hiking through Puebloan ruins, then Puerco Pueblo won’t excite you, but if you haven’t had the chance to see ancient Indian ruins, it’s worth a stop. You can finish your day by gazing at the pink hues of the Painted Desert in the northern part of the Park.
Suggestions To enjoy this Park, get in the right frame of mind before you go. You aren’t going to be blown away by the mountains or canyons which typify other National Parks–all you will see is fields and fields of “rock” and desolate desert. Appreciate the park for what it is, a place to see something unique and learn a little of the area’s natural history.
Go on a cool day and bring plenty of water–it’s the desert! DO NOT TAKE ANY PETRIFIED WOOD FROM THE PARK!!! You will be fined severely, and the Rangers are always looking. Even though it’s illegal to take any, the Park still loses TONS of petrified wood every year to souvenir hunters. If you must have a souvenir, you can purchase some petrified wood legally at several shops outside of the Park.
Official NPS Website Petrified Forest NP
Write Your Own Review