Plan your visit to
Petrified Forest National Park
Enticing People with History and Beauty
Much of the area surrounding the park is private land and therefore not really protected from those that would rob the area of these natural anomalies, but since 1962 Petrified Forest National Park has been an important part of the national park system that preserves the history of the area. Visitors from around the world have enjoyed seeing history encapsulated in petrified wood within the park, but the park has far more to offer than just that aspect.
Best Park for Accessibility
When to go
March – April – May – June – July – August – September – October – November
Petrified Forest National Park Activities
Hiking – Archaeological Sites – History – Wild flowers – Stunning Vistas – Wildlife – Geological Formations – Scenic Drives – Bird-Watching
A Picturesque View Point
Any national park that you visit not only calls for you to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, but encourages you to take those memories home with the photographs you take. With the advancement in cell phone technology you are likely in possession of a good camera at any time, but just because you have one does not mean that you should waste your shots on just any photo opportunity. Petrified Forest National Park has one of the most beautiful landscapes available filled with photo opportunities that you can cherish for a lifetime.
The Painted Desert is an area of the park that may be hot during a summer day, but offers guests a beautiful pallet of colors that give you the feeling that the area was masterfully painted by an artist that surpasses all others. The wind erosion from thousands of years has brought the land to vivid colors that will make you want to take a few shots to remember them by. The area is dotted with many overlooks that allow for the nature of the desert to come alive within your photographs. Tiponi, Kachina, Pntado, and Whipple are just a few of the overlooks that you are not going to want to miss on your trip.
An Archeological Dream
History is something that should always be treasured and archaeological sites around the world have enabled modern people to have a glimpse into what it may have been like to live before modern technology took over our lives. Native people have inhabited the area where Petrified Forest National Park sits for thousands of years and each civilization has left its mark in some way. The Pueblo people are famous for their mud built homes and many of the architecture of Arizona reflects their influence. Petrified Forest National Park has excavated one of these ancient dwellings from over 600 years ago so you can see a little bit about the past that is not simply words in a history book. History comes alive here.
Hike the Badlands
Petrified Forest National Park is a hiker’s dream. Many people seem to believe that a good hike requires mountains teeming with trees, but here in this park, hikers get the chance to hike in the badlands. Blue Mesa is among the most famous hikes to be found within the park. The hike is the perfect way to get in touch with your desert surroundings. The entire hike is around 4 miles and will take you past petrified logs and through barren landscapes up to the final top of Blue Mesa.
Things to Know
Petrified Forest National Park is open throughout the year with the only exception being Christmas Day. When visiting the park, it is recommended that you pack according to the weather. The summer season is very hot while the winter temperatures can dip to freezing. The park fees are relatively inexpensive at $5 per person or $10 per car. Camping within the park will present a bit of a challenge if you are not used to backcountry camping. There are no set campgrounds anywhere in the park and if you choose to backcountry camp, you must procure a permit to do so. The permit is free, but you do have to get the permit at least 1 hour before the park closes for the day. If camping is not for you or the weather is not affording you very good camping weather, you can find plenty of accommodations at the nearby towns.
The park is protected by the government and therefore all the artifacts that are within the park must never be moved. The park staff want everyone who visits Petrified Forest National Park to feel as though they are stepping back in time, so never remove anything from the park. Even the artifacts that are for purchase in the gift shop were not technically taken from the park, but rather surrounding areas. Remember to bring plenty of water and supplies. The summer months are hot, so a gallon of water per person per day is highly recommended. Enjoy stepping right into history at Petrified Forest National Park.
Reviewed by Adventure Review - National Parks on
Petrified wood has long fascinated people with a glimpse into the past. There are many places throughout the world that you can find these types of ancient artifacts, but none as amazing as Petrified Forest National Park.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Download a Petrified Forest National Park Map
Planning a trip to the Petrified Forest National Park? Be sure to download the official Petrified Forest National Park map, below, or use our interactive maps to find restaurants, hotels, or activities along the route of your choosing in and around the park. Either way, don’t leave home without a map of Petrified Forest National Park. This free Petrified Forest National Park map shows park roads, attractions, and more.
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Official Petrified Forest National Park Map – Click on the Map to download