Petrified Forest National Park
The Petrified Forest National Park lies in the arid northeast of Arizona in the Painted Desert (so called because of its brilliantly colored sandstone in shades of red and blue).OriginsIn the Mesozoic era this was a plain traversed by numerous watercourses, with a vegetation of horsetails, ferns and coniferous trees in particularly well watered areas.
Official site: www.nps.gov/pefo/
Address: Box 2217, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028-2217, United States
Opening hours: 10am-6pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: $5.00, Annual pass or membership $20.00, Vehicle plus all occupants $10.00
Useful tips: Extended hours during the summer. Entrance fees apply for 7 days. No campgrounds in the park, only wilderness backpack camping is allowed. Collecting petrified wood is prohibited. Inform the visitor center if you are planning a long hike in the area.
Typical Visit: 2 hours
Petrified Forest National Park Highlights
The 23mi/42km long Park Road runs through the finest parts of the National Park.
Agate Bridge is part of a petrified tree of which both ends are still embedded in the sandstone.This stone log is harder than the sandstone around it. The bridge has resisted erosion and remained suspended as flood waters washed out the gully. In 1906, visitors worked to preserve Agate Bridge by establishing the Petrified Forest National Park.
At the Blue Mesa area it can be seen how the petrified remains of trees have been exposed by erosion.A one-mile loop interpretive trail begins near the turnoff from Park Road. The Blue Mesa has an almost lunar landscape with sculpted hills and a nature trail that runs through the middle of the area.The bands that are visible in the rocks are sedimentary layers that have been deposited in the area.
The two Flattops are relics of the layer of sandstone which once covered the whole plain.The remaining capstone, or flattops, protect layered deposits that have long since eroded from other parts of Petrified Forest National Park.
Kachina Point Overlook
Kachina Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks on Park Road in the Painted Desert, and has the trailhead for access to the Painted Desert Wilderness Region.
Painted Desert Inn Museum
Painted Desert Visitor Center
Just south of Interstate 40 on Park Road, the Painted Desert Visitor Center is the north entrance station for Petrified Forest National Park. It has a 17-minute film on how wood is petrified, along with exhibits on the ecology, geology and human history of the park.
Agate House is a partly restored Indian pueblo toward the south end of Park Road in the Rainbow Forest. Agate House is constructed entirely of petrified wood by Indians in the 16th C.
The Long Logs is a petrified logjam in the Rainbow Forest. Some of the logs measure over 100 feet long. The Long Logs trail provides impressive views in the Giant Forest.
Nizhoni Point Overlook
Nizhoni Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks of the Painted Desert on Park Road. Pieces of selenite gypsum on the hillside below appear to be shards of glass in the shining sun.
Whipple Point Overlook
The Whipple Point Overlook of the Painted Desert is named for one of the first Europeans to visit the Petrified Forest, Lieutenant A.W. Whipple. The overlook is 4.5 miles south of Interstate 40 on Park Road.
Chinde Point Overlook
Chinde Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks of the Painted Desert on Park Road.
Lacey Point Overlook
The Lacey Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks on Park Road in the Painted Desert .
Pintado Point Overlook
Pintado Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks on Park Road in the Painted Desert.
Puerco Indian Ruin
Puerco Indian Ruin is the remains of a settlement occupied by Pueblo Indians 600 years ago.
Rainbow Forest Visitor Center
Fourteen miles south of Interstate 40 on Park Road are the Teepees, which are colorful eroded formations.
Tiponi Point Overlook
Tiponi Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks on Park Road in the Painted Desert .
Newspaper Rock is a huge block of sandstone with Indian rock drawings.
Tawa Point Overlook
Tawa Point Overlook is one of eight overlooks of the Painted Desert on Park Road.
Painted Desert Wilderness
The Painted Desert Wilderness is part of Petrified Forest National Park, covering 43,020 acres of mesas and badlands with scattered areas of grassland.
The Black Forest is part of the Painted Desert Wilderness in Petrified Forest National Park, and contains the Onyx Bridge. The Black Forest contains darkly-colored petrified wood.
Pilot Rock is the highest point in Petrified Forest National Park, at 6,295 feet.
Rainbow Forest Wilderness
The Rainbow Forest Wilderness in the Petrified Forest National Park has 7,240 acres of grassland, badlands and petrified wood deposits. There are also traces of Indian settlements.
More Petrified Forest National Park Pictures