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Petrified Forest National Park Travel Guide

  • Photo: Sean Lema / Shutterstock

Plan Your Petrified Forest National Park Vacation

Petrified logs scattered about a vast pink-hued lunarlike landscape resemble a fairy-tale forest turned to stone at Petrified Forest National Park. The park's 218,533 acres, which include portions of the Painted Desert, are covered with petrified tree trunks whose wood cells were fossilized over centuries by brightly hued mineral deposits—silica, iron oxide, carbon, manganese, aluminum,

copper, and lithium. The park holds plenty of other fossils; remnants of humans and their artifacts have been recovered at more than 500 sites in the park.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Terrific timber Be mesmerized by the clusters of petrified (fossilized) wood. The trees look like they're made of colorful stone.
  2. Route 66 kicks Put the top down on the Chevrolet. A section of the fabled road is preserved in the park, the only section of the highway protected in a national park.
  3. Triassic treasures Find an oasis of water in the desert, or at least evidence that it once existed. Clam fossils in the park indicate that waterways once prevailed where sand, stone, and trees now define the land.
  4. Corps creations Say thanks to FDR. The Painted Desert Inn, a National Historic Landmark, was modernized by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the throes of the Great Depression. The recently renovated building is now a museum and bookstore.

When To Go

When to Go

The park is rarely crowded. Weather-wise, the best time to visit is autumn, when nights are chilly but daytime temperatures hover near 70°F. Half...

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