Petrified Forest National Park is located in the Southwest USA in Arizona. The incredible location is known for its vast array of fossils and petrified trees.
The park is 146 square miles and is teeming with natural plant and animal life. Summers can be hot and the average high temperature during summer months is 100-degrees Fahrenheit.
Fossilized trees on display from 225 million years ago in the Late Triassic Period draw hundreds of visitors daily. Modern history is also celebrated here, as the famous Historic Route 66 runs through the area. In fact, the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark was a place for travelers to stop and rest along old Route 66. Today it serves as a location where visitors can view exhibits about the park.
Years of theft of the fossils and petrified wood prompted the protection and creation of the official national park status. They celebrated 100 years of that protection in 2006.
There are several short trails to walk, museums to explore and several backpacking tours. Rangers regularly patrol around Puerco Pueblo, Crystal Forest and Giant Logs. They are a wealth of knowledge about the park and the area and are more than happy to share stories and history about the area.
Our favorite walk:
Crystal Forest, a ¾ mile loop
Why we love it:
You can see beautiful, colorful petrified logs that are still full of crystals. This loop is also accessible for strollers and the paved walkway makes it easy to negotiate.
Look for the large rock formation known as The Battleship in the distance along this loop.