Petrified Forest National Park

The Petrified Forest National Park is an extensive desert landscape that exists within the Apache and Navajo counties of Arizona. Encompassing eroded badlands and desert steppes, this sprawling landscape offers miles of unique trails, grassy sections, and jagged terrain to traverse.

There’s no better place to experience Arizona’s rich history than in Petrified Forest National Park. Throughout the park’s 221,390 acres are fascinating preservations of 225 million-year-old trees-turned colorful quartz stones. In addition to these natural wonders, Petrified Forest National Park is home to ancient pueblos, pit houses, petroglyphs, and pottery fossils that can be viewed from the car or on the trail.  Situated between modern day Navajo and Apache counties, the park contains remnants of human life from over 8,000 years ago. The sprawling ruins of Puerco Pueblo, an 800-year-old dwelling with around 100 rooms, are easily accessible by a quarter mile trail, while the Agate House, which was occupied around 1100 to 1150 CE, was actually made from the pieces of petrified wood that visitors can see around the park today.  Arizona’s Petrified Forest is essential for history lovers and curious hikers alike. Its hieroglyphs and fossil collections will make you feel like you’ve stumbled onto a scene from an old western, complete with colorful desert badlands and a Painted Desert Inn built back in 1924. You can drive, bike, hike, or camp throughout the park’s 346 square miles, or you can take advantage of the National Park Service’s BYOH (bring your own horse) rules and southwestern ‘scapes and ride a pack animal through the backcountry.

Driving loop, hiking, biking, history

If you’re imagining a woodland fresh from an Alfred Hitchcock screening, you can stop right now. The ‘petrified’ in the Petrified Forest National Park refers to a process of fossilization that sees minerals turn organic matter into stone. It’s a process that’s worked wonders on the I-40 between Sanders and Holbrook, where 230 square miles of land contains ancient stones that were once actually trees. In addition, you’ll see Mars-like landscapes of painted badlands and the ruins of pre-historic Pueblo villages.

United States Arizona

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