Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Be an archeologist for a day when you visit Arizona’s oldest natural and cultural landscape. Experience more than 13,000 years of human history at the Petrified Forest National Park.

The Petrified Forest National Park became a national monument in 1906 and is most famous for its Late Triassic fossils as well as its abundance of petrified wood.

You can choose to travel through the park by private vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle or comment tour. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes.

Aside from driving through the park, activities include visiting the Painted Desert Visitor Center, which offers book sales, exhibits and Timeless Impressions; a 20-minute orientation film; horseback riding; viewing petrified wood, fossils and displays of prehistoric animals at the Rainbow Forest Museum; stopping at various points with beautiful scenery, such as Kachina Point, and hiking through marked trails like the Puerco Pueblo Trail. There are more than 52,000 acres at the Petrified Forest National Park that visitors can explore.

Photo: planetware.comIf you’d rather go on a guided tour, you can choose from the Painted Desert Inn Tour, the Triassic Program or the Puerco Pueblo Program.

The Painted Desert Inn Tour is held on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. This tour explores the fascinating past of this National Historic Landmark.

The Triassic Program is held daily at 1 p.m beginning at the Rainbow Forest Museum sunroom. A ranger will explain all there is to know about petrified wood as you walk along the Giant Logs Trail.

Daily at 3 p.m., the Puerco Pueblo Program is offered at the start of the Puerco Pueblo Trail. Learn about the ancestral Puebloan people and see the pueblo they once lived in.

A free-of-charge special program for children is also offered at the Petrified Forest National Park. Junior Ranger Activity Days are held during the summer (July-August) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., which teaches children about Petrified Forest National Park, its animals, plants and ecosystem.

For the older crowd, Sunset Viewings are an ideal way to relax after a long day of hiking. Visitors can watch the sunset over the Painted Desert from Kachina Point. This point can be accessed through the north entrance of the park.

Upcoming special events:

  • May 12: International Migratory Bird Day
  • May 7-13: National Wildflower Week
  • June 14-28: Summer Solstice Celebration — Join rangers at a petroglyph at Puerco Pueblo for a solar interaction between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
  • August 25: The anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service is celebrated.
  • Cultural Demonstrator Program: On Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, visit with silversmiths, carvers, weavers, dancers and other demonstrators. Many will have items for sale.
  • Artist in Residence Program: From spring to fall watch artists as they paint, draw or photograph.

Upcoming fee-free weekends:

  • April 21-29: National Park Week
  • June 9: Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29: National Public Lands Day

For more information on Petrified Forest National Park, visit nps.gov.