To reach Petrified Forest National Park located in northeastern Arizona, drive east from Flagstaff through the city of Winslow, made famous by the song Take It Easy by the Eagles. After an hour of humming and singing you’ll reach the park where the beauty of the multi-hued yet desolate landscape will fill your senses. 

Give yourself a solid day to hike and explore a landscape of colourful badlands filled with buttes, mesas and the remains of fossilized trees that were alive 200 million years ago. Along the 28 mile road that loops through the park there are 12 stops and from there at least a dozen hikes of varying difficulty; some are on developed trails while others take you well into the wilderness where route finding skills are critical. All stops are worthwhile.

The heat can be wicked in this park so be sure to carry lots of water and wear a sunhat. Although food can be purchased at the Visitor Centre, I’d recommend stocking up with picnic supplies before you reach the park.

The 17 photos you’ll see below should give you a pretty good sense of why Petrified Forest National Park is worth a visit.

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

View from Kachina Point

Discover the Beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Red hills near the Painted Desert Inn

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

It’s a parched land

Discover the Beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Interesting erosion patterns

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park iin 17 Photos

The Painted Desert

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Ancient petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo – an archaeological site inhabited between 1250 – 1380 AD

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Petrified logs strewn about in the Blue Mesa area

Discover the Beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

The Blue Mesa area looks quite purple to me

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Views of the Blue Forest

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Perfectly split logs in the Crystal Forest

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Close-up of the inside of a log

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

It’s a fascinating walk on the .75 mile trail through the Crystal Forest

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Don’t miss the Long Logs hike near the southern boundary of the park

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Catching the golden hour in the Long Logs area

Discover the beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Remarkable colours in some of the petrified logs

Discover the Beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Petrified logs are scattered across the landscape on the Long Logs Trail

Discover the Beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Looking down Jim Camp Wash near the Rainbow Forest Museum

Getting to Petrified Forest National Park

The park is best explored as a loop – in either direction. The Painted Desert Visitor Centre is at the north end of the park while the Rainbow Forest Museum is at the southern entrance to the park. The easiest way to get there is to take exit 311 off of Highway 40. You can then drive the 28 miles through the park and exit on Highway 180. Holbrook is 18 miles away to the west. From Winslow it’s about a 50 minute drive, from Flagstaff one hour and 40 minutes.

Petrified Forest National Park is open every day of the year but Christmas from 8 AM to 5 PM with longer hours in the summer. The entrance fee is $25.

For more information visit the Petrified Forest National Park website.

Have you explored northern Arizona?

Discover the Beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in 17 Photos

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • cindy says:

    THIS YEAR! Last year we got caught in a huge rainstorm (seriously) so didn’t get to see much. I’m thinking of trying to stay somewhere close and spending a couple days, but we’ll see. It looks so beautiful.

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