Located in Arizona, Between highway 180 and Highway 40, (Yes Historic Route 66) is the Petrified Forest National Park. Petrified Forest National Park is located on the border between Apache County and Navajo County in northeastern Arizona. The Park is known for its fossils, especially of fallen trees that we have named Petrified Wood. Petrified wood is when all the organic materials have been replaced with minerals mostly a silicate, such as quartz, while retaining the original structure of the wood. This “Wood” is very rock like and in many cases very pretty to look at.
The park offers sightseeing, photography, hiking, and backpacking. Being that there is no “camping” in the park, (other than overnight backpacking), we choose to drive through the park in a few hours and used the park as a cross road between highway 180 and highway 40. From Holbrook we jumped on the 180 east (about 19 Miles) and entered the park near Giant Logs and The Rainbow Forest Museum.
At giant logs is a very short walking path that gives you a great view and understanding of the Petrified forest.
The color of the petrified wood is amazing. A true RockHounds Dream… However No! rock collecting is allowed in the park. This was difficult due to the quality of the rocks at hand, but lets allow the next generation to see this too. Outside of the park are plenty of places where you can purchase petrified wood and mineral specimens. So please don’t collect.
The Rainbow Forest Museum, has a lot of park information. You can obtain your backcountry permits here and receive local information from the park staff. Take some time and check out some prehistoric friends.
Following the road up to meet up with Highway 40 are many short hikes and view points; Crystal Forest, Agate Bridge, the Tepees, all worthy stoping points.
You will cross Highway 40 and enter into the Painted Desert. There is another visitor center on this side of the park that we did not stop in. However the Painted Desert was breathtaking.
We went through the park rather quickly and could have easily spent several days backpacking through the wilderness area. However the day that we choose to drive through was a surprise to us both and we just went with the flow. We are glad that we stopped and have one more national park to check off our bucket list.