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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Petrified Forrest National Park - Arizona

Updated: Feb 4

Petrified Forest National Park is an American national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 346 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The park's headquarters is about 26 miles east of Holbrook along Interstate 40, which parallels the BNSF Railway's Southern Transcon, the Puerco River, and historic U.S. Route 66, all crossing the park roughly east–west. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962.

Averaging about 5,400 feet in elevation, the park has a dry windy climate with temperatures that vary from summer highs of about 100 °F to winter lows well below freezing. More than 400 species of plants, dominated by grasses such as bunchgrass, blue grama, and sacaton, are found in the park. Fauna include larger animals such as pronghorns, coyotes, and bobcats, many smaller animals, such as deer mice, snakes, lizards, seven kinds of amphibians, and more than 200 species of birds, some of which are permanent residents and many of which are migratory. About one third of the park is designated wilderness—50,260 acres.

The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch, about 225 million years ago. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name. T

This national park is a must-see for all outdoor lovers and one you want to go out of your way to see. The desert landscape along with the petrified wood logs are amazing.

Things to do and see:

Encounter the stripped mesas of the Painted Desert.

See the beauty of the Blue Mesa.

Take the road less traveled to Jasper Forrest.

Bring binoculars to view the Newspaper Rock petroglyphs.

Look over the expanse of Chinde Point.

Drive the park road.

Conversations/Things we learned:

This is a must-see location when you are in the Flagstaff and/or Grand Canyon Area. This national park can be seen in a day and the park can be easily accessible by driving through a long loop. The park offers some limited hiking trails but this is for geology fans.

No need to carry a heavy backpack at this national but bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and food. There is very little to no shade.

Contact Information:


P.O. Box 2217 Petrified Forest, AZ 86028

Phone: (928) 524-6228


Visitor Center

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Tiponi Point

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Tawa Point

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Painted Desert Inn

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Nizhoni Point

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Puerco Pueblos

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Blue Mesa

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Agate Bridge

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Crystal Forrest

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Newspaper Rock

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