Experience one of the world’s largest and most vibrantly colored assemblies of petrified wood, historic structures, and archaeological sites at Petrified Forest National Park. 200-million-year-old fossils tell the tale of the prehistoric earth and its inhabitants in Arizona’s Painted Desert.
More than 200 million years ago, flourishing trees and vegetation covered much of this area of Northeastern Arizona. But volcanic lava destroyed the forest, and the remains were embedded into sediment comprised of volcanic ash and water. Erosion set the logs free millions of years later, revealing the petrified wood – made mostly of quartz – that Arizona visitors gather to see.
But there’s more than wood to the Petrified Forest’s history. You can see remnants of more than 13,000 years of human history at the park, including Puerco Pueblo – a nearly 800-year-old, 100-room dwelling, a diverse, extensive collection of prehistoric pottery fossils and even a protected section of historic Route 66.
Petrified Forest National Park provides access to many outdoor activities, and the best way to enjoy and experience it is on foot. Designated hiking trails range in length from less than a half-mile to three miles, and each trail promises you a breathtaking view of the surrounding Painted Desert.
You can also head out into the Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area by horse, burro, mule or llama, or you can do an overnight backpacking trip through the park.
There are plenty of places to stay near Petrified Forest National Park – including nearby Holbrook, Arizona, around 20 miles west of the park along I-40. You can also stay further west in Winslow or Flagstaff, or south in Show Low or Pinetop-Lakeside.
Open daily, year-round, closed Christmas Day. For details on hours, please visit the website.
Petrified Forest National Park
1 Park Road
Petrified Forest, AZ 86028