Petrified Forest National Park Travel Guide

  • Petrified Forest National Park
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui

Petrified Forest National Park Things to Do

  • Look at old stuff

    Great title, huh? Ok, so there's a bunch of old trees that look like rocks. Pretty neat, but there's so much more- the topography, the arid nature of the region, the desert life. Go for the petrified forest, but let the whole place sink in; it's an amazing experience.I'd love to be able to get off the trails and explore this area more.

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  • Agate House A House of Gems

    I really wanted to see the house even though it was about 90 and my RA was really bothering me, but I was determined. So off I went on my own with a couple of bottles of water. My hubby's back was hurting him, so he couldn't come with me. Thankful about the mid way there is a shaded structure. So each way I would stop here to drink and relax. What...

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  • Painted Desert Inn

    In 1937, the Civilian Conservation Corps replaced an earlier lodge. This building was designed by Lyle E. Bennett and the Pertrified Service Branch of Plans and Designs. Operated as a Fred Harvey House from 1947 to when it closed its doors 1963. Thankfully declared a National Historic Landmark, it now services the public by opening its doors and...

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  • Desert Vistas

    The plaques reads: From Pintodo Point, vistas of remarkable clarity extend far beyond boundaries because the air quality in the surrounding Petrified Forest is among the purest in the continental United States. At times, the San Francisco Peaks, 120 miles (193 km) away near Flagstaff, can be seen clearly. Long-distance visibility also allows us to...

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  • A Gap in the Geologic Record

    The plaques reads: The black basalt the caps the cliff before you stands in stark contrast to the colorful Chinle Formation visible throughout the Painted Desert. Below this layer of basalt, a horizontal line cuts across the face of the mesa and separates rocks of two different geologic periods. The pink mudstone below this line belongs to the...

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  • Early Explorers

    This plaque reads: U.S. Army Lt. Amiel Whipple, surveying for a railroad route along the 35th Parallel about one mile south of here, passed down the broad sandy wash below in December 1853. Impressed with the deposits of petrified wood visible along the banks, Whipple named it Lithodendron (“stone tree”) Creek. Although American Indians have long...

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  • The Painted Desert

    There are even more beautiful landscape in the Painted Desert area, just breath taking. This plaque reads: The Painted Desert stretches before you as an outdoor museum of fossilized plants and animals. Its striking colors emanate from the Chinle Formation of the Late Triassic, which has been eroded by the Little Colorado River drainage system.An...

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  • Route 66

    This is a neat memorial to the good old days of Route 66, it reads:You are standing near old Route 66. The line of the roadbed and the telephone poles in front of you mark the path of the famous "Main Street of America" as it passed through Petrified Forest National Park. From Chicago to Los Angeles, this heavily traveled highway was not only a...

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  • Santa Fe Railroad

    The plaque reads: Across the Puerco River, the tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad stretch for miles to the east and to the west. With no landforms or forests to block your view, you can see very long trains from beginning to end. More than 60 trains a day pass through the park.The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad built this important...

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  • Village on the Rio Puerco

    The plaque reads: The village on the Rio Puerco (Puerco Pueblo) is a prehistoric settlement built of shaped sandstone blocks by ancestral Puebloan people. It was inhabited between A.D. 1250 and 1380. At its peak the pueblo had over 100 rooms, with a possible population of 200 people. During the village’s occupation, fields of corn, beans, and...

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  • Whispers of the Past

    The plaque reads: For thousands of years, indigenous people have used rock faces as means of communication. Petroglyphs are images, symbols, or designs scratched, pecked, carved, or incised on the surface of rock. These features are like whispers from the past and there are thousands of them at hundreds of sites in Petrified Forest National Park....

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  • A Canvas for Ideas

    The plaque reads: The dark coating on the boulder below you is desert varnish – a concentration of mineral, clay, and organic material that accumulates over time. Prehistoric artists created rock art by exposing the lighter material underneath. But what do these symbols mean? Unlike contemporary writing, petroglyphs are not letters or sounds....

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  • Summer Solstice Marker

    The plaque reads: A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice annually as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20th is usually the longest day of the year and is referred to as the summer solstice.These photographs illustrate how sunlight from the rising summer solstice Sun flows...

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  • Life in the Village

    The plaque reads: Did you notice where the trail passed over the faint outlines of the rooms? Over 100 rooms formed a one-story apartment complex surrounding a central plaza in the village. The building materials for the pueblo were blocks of native sandstone, shaped by hand, and mortared together with mud. The exterior and interior walls were...

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  • Newspaper Rock

    The plaques: More than 650 images adorn the boulders below – one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in the park. People who farmed the Puerco River Valley 650 to 2,000 years ago pecked these petroglyphs onto the rocks, leaving a legacy etched in stone.When rocks are exposed to the elements, a patina called “desert varnish” forms on the...

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Petrified Forest National Park Restaurants

  • McDonalds & other restaurants

    Holbrook is about 15 to 20 minutes west of The Petrified Forest. You will find all the usual restaurants there. McDonalds etc.This is a city of 5,000 people and you can get a home cooked meal or fast food. It's right off Interstate 40.

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  • Bring your own!

    Sadly, many of the park concessions in our country offer the most pitiful food service, greasy, nasty and expensive. I'd love to see that change someday...but in the meantime, be aware that while you can get food at the North & South entrances to the Petrified Forest park, you'd be much better off packing a picnic of your own food.And LOTS of...

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  • The Only Game In Town

    The Painted Desert Visitors Centre located in the northern part of the park offers full amenities including a gas station, restaurant, gift shop, a twenty minute film on the park, and a ranger station. The restaurant is nothing special but reasonably priced. Then again,you don't really have any option, do you?The Rainbow Forest Museum located at...

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Petrified Forest National Park Transportation

  • A car is essential ...

    The only way to visit the Petrified Forest is to drive here, so you’ll need a car unless you can find a touring holiday which includes this on the itinerary. The road through the park is 27 miles long and is best driven once either from south to north, starting on Route 180, or north to south, starting on Hwy 40 (exit 311). Unless you want to...

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  • Petrified Forest through Holbrook,...

    We began our trip into the Petrified National Forest from Holbrook by heading east on I-40 for 23 miles. We exited at milepost 311, which took us directly to the Visitor Center, Museum and entrance.There are several lookout points, and from this north entrance, you will travel through the Painted Desert first and then into the heart of the...

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  • Petrified Forest National Park Hotels

    0 Hotels in Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park Shopping

  • Gift Shops +

    There are three points in the Park where you can shop for the usual gift shop goodies as well as some more specific park items.Firstly, the Painted Desert Visitors Centre which has the best selection of National Park products, including the opportunity to purchase your own specimen of petrified wood.Secondly, the Painted Desert Inn which has a...

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  • If you really have to take some rocks...

    At the south entrance to the park you'll find a large souvenir shop that offers all the rocks, fossils & petrified wood you could possibly want. They also have an extensive selection of "glass artifacts', which are colorful rock-like chunks of glass, refuse from the glass bottle manufacturing industry. There's a fountain built from some of these...

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Petrified Forest National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Caliente!

    I know most people here are aware of desert environments, but for those who aren't, Arizona can get really hot. Since it's also very dry, you may not feel as sweaty as you would in more verdant areas, and, therefore, not be aware of how dehydrated you are. Especially if you plan on hiking, drink a lot and follow nature's lead: stay in the shade.

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  • Area Beyond Sign Closed ~Do Not Enter!!

    There are lots of areas recommended you not venture into. When I was visiting the Blue Mesa area a couple of young male visitors where taking photo's. There were many signs stating "Area Beyond Sign Closed ~Do Not Enter" They were taking a huge risk in getting a photo next to a petrified log that was balancing on a mesa. It was dangerous because...

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  • Leave the petrified wood for others ..

    As well as the many huge logs, there are much smaller pieces of petrified wood to be seen here, and the temptation to pick one up as a souvenir of your visit, while understandable, must be resisted. The main reason for the park’s formation was to ensure the protection of the wood because of its value to geologic history. To help protect the wood...

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Petrified Forest National Park What to Pack

  • gubbi1's Profile Photo

    by gubbi1 Written May 15, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It can be fresh here and wind can be strong, so a jacket is a good idea to bring with you. Best to use the layer technic, so you do not sweat if it gets warmer over the day.

    Clouds, Petrified Forest NP, AZ, US
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park

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Petrified Forest National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Hubbell Trading Post

    This site is about 30 miles form Petrified Forest. It is not a National Park Service site and open for tours. A home tour of the stone Hubbell home is $2 and on the hour. The main attraction is the gift shop trading store that is the same one used since 1878. Fred Hubbell rested here to start the store trade, and Navajo INdians were his main...

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  • Holbrook Town

    This sleepy town was once more vibrant when mining took place around here. Now the population continues to diminish, and went down at under 4,000 in the last 5 years from 5,000. There are at least 4-5 rock shops in town, and 2 convenience stores for gas and beer. This was a anchor point for the railroad, and the town was named after an engineer in...

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  • Ganado - Hubbell Trading Post

    Ganado is about halfway between Petrified Forest National Park and Chinle (our next that day) and having some spare time we decided to visit the Hubbell Trading Post just outside this Navajo village. When entering the homestead it is just like stepping back in time (just these modern cars should get another car park). The main building with its...

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Petrified Forest National Park Favorites

  • Some geology

    The trees that created the now petrified logs grew in an ancient period in geologic history, called the Triassic, and were of the species named Araucariaxylon arizonicum. Around 200 million years ago, volcanic activity caused many trees to fall, and the fallen logs were washed into a river and buried quickly (faster than they could decompose) and...

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  • Wildlife

    As you would expect in this desert environment, the park is home to a number of reptiles, both snakes and lizards. The former include rattlesnakes, so be careful – keep to the paths and make a noise if you do walk through any undergrowth. We heard the distinctive rattle a couple of times but saw no snakes at all. We did however spot this beauty of...

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  • The Petrified Forest is alive with...

    Yes, animals do live on the Petrified National Forest ! Not everything is petrified! This is actually a living forest – the grasslands support hundreds of plants and animal species which include prarie dogs, coyotes, gopher snakes, bobcats, pronghorns, lizards, tarantulas, squirrels, road-runners…These wild animals can also have diseases which...

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Explore Deeper into Petrified Forest National Park
Pioneers of Paleontology~The Tepee Area
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Changing in Climate ~Blue Mesa Area
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Blue Mesa Trail
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People and Change~Blue Mesa Area
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The Changing World~Blue Mesa Area
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Agate Bridge
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Jasper Forest's
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From Wood to Stone ~ Crystal Forest Area
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Triassic Landscape ~ Crystal Forest area
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The Crystal Forest Area
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The Flat Tops
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Long Logs Trail
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Stephen Tyng Mather July. 4,1867 - Jan.22,1930
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Rainbow Forest Museum ~Visitor Center
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Giant Logs Trails
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Visitor's Center
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Painted Desert
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Blue Mesa View/Hike
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The Painted Desert
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The Agate House
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The Great Logs Trail
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Do NOt Touch to TAke
Warnings and Dangers
Painted Desert Inn
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Painted Desert Views
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Puerco Pueblo Ruins-Newspapr Rock-Tepees
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Agate Bridge
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Crystal Forest
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Long Logs/Agate House view/hike
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Giant Logs View/Hike
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Visitor Centers
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Do not take out petrified wood out of forest!
Warnings and Dangers
Visit the Painted Desert Visitor Center
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Petrified Hiking, Camping and Horsebackriding!
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Holbrook – close to Petrified Forest NP
Off The Beaten Path
Painted Desert Inn
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Painted Desert
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the Tepees
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Blue Mesa
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Crystal Forest
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Rainbow Forest
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Map of Petrified Forest National Park

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