"Forests of stone" Petrified Forest National Park by toonsarah

Old Faithful, one of the largest logs in the park

The Petrified Forest is home to one of the world's largest and most colourful concentrations of petrified wood, and also some stunning desert landscapes. The wide open vistas will blow your mind, and the transformation from prehistoric forest to barren, parched rock stretch your imagination to its limits.

It appears to be less visited than many of the other National and State parks in the area so is a good choice if you want to escape the crowds of, for instance, Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon. It may lack the facilities of these but it will appeal to anyone who likes wide open spaces with just a touch of desolation.

Things to do here include several short trails which take you past some of the largest trunks of petrified wood, such as the Great Logs Trail and Long Longs Trail, and past the various signs of early human habitation such as the Agate House, Puerco Pueblo and Newspaper Rock.

You can also take longer hikes or backpack in the wilderness area, and visit the informative Visitor Centre and Rainbow Forest Museum to find out more about the history and geology of the area. With only a few hours to spend here we focused on several of the shorter trails – see my Things to Do tips for a little bit about these.

This is also a great area for photography, and even if you are only driving through you should make the time to pull over, perhaps at one of the picnic areas on Hwy 40, to take a few photos of the colourful Painted Desert. Even the most cursory of glances will show you how it got its name, but it surely deserves just a little more of your attention than that!

Our visit here was way back in 1993, so the photos are a little faded and the memories even more so. I’ve tried to unearth a few facts to go alongside these and make my tips more useful. But this page is mainly an attempt to capture what most inspired me about this landscape before even more of it fades into forgetful oblivion ...

  • Last visit to Petrified Forest National Park: Jun 1993
  • Intro Updated Dec 24, 2011
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Reviews (7)

Comments (9)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    I've never been to this park but have wanted to go for some time now. Thanks for sharing this info. & wonderful photos!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Nov 15, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      Thanks :-) It was a very interesing park to visit, though we didn't have as much time to explore as I'd have liked, and the old slides don't really do it justice here!

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Great!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    Oh another set of marvellous and mystic photos :-) I was never there so it is very nice to see it through your eyes :-))

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    great page , but you fail to say what the forest is afraid of.....

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Short but very sweet portrait of a stunning landscape. Great restoration work with the photos again, Sarah. Gotta love the collared lizard, especially perched on some petrified wood!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Really enjoyed the information that is so helpful for travelers. The photographs certainly are enticing.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Sarah, outstading photos of the Petrified Forest National Park here. Unfortunately I haven't this part of the world yet. See you soon in Krakow.

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    this is a national park i always wanted to visit. hopefully i will get there one day.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    It really is some site to behold, isn't it!. I thought the color of painted desert was beyond my depth the remember the contrasts, so I took pictures there.

toonsarah

“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust”

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