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USA Petrified Forest (Arizona)

Should you be wandering through Arizona or New Mexico one day, I suggest you stop at a place called Petrified Forest, an amazing national park in Arizona state that offers variety of rock formations, painted desert and petrified wood that resembles beautiful crystals. About 225 millions years ago this vast, dry grassland was a floodplain crossed by many streams. Tall trees grew along the rivers and dinosaurs and other prehistoric monsters walked by. When the trees felt down, the streams washed them away and a mix of mud, silt and volcanic ash buried them deep down. Silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs for ages and eventually changed the wooden tissues into crystals.

Then the whole region was uplifted, climate changed and the tropical forest became a desert full of amazing colors and logs of petrified wood.

What here: I just loved this place! Really. You can ride or walk (most of the hikes are easy to medium and about one hour long). The countryside changes dramatically few times and apart from various rock formations, painted desert and petrified wood in different colors you can also see ancient dwellings from about 1100 – 1400 AC and petroglyphs. Petrified Forest is a perfect place to take pictures and spent the entire day here (however should you be in a hurry you can probably see the park in just 3 hours).
To collect petrified wood in the park is prohibited but you can buy some (from tiny pieces to huge logs) in the souvenir shops around. Their reserves are from private land and can be sold. The park protects just about 15% of the „wood“ for future generations.

What to take? Enough water, enough gas, camera and a hat (there is almost no shadow in the park and the sun is burning).

Entrance fee: 10 USD per car, this ticket is valid for 7 days. Or you can buy the yearly entrance to all American national parks for around 90 USD.

How to get here: Going on I-40 eastbound, take exit 285 in Holbrook (good sleepover place by the way). You will pass few souvenir shops filled with petrified wood and enter the park from south. Going westbound, take exit 311. There is a gas station at this entrance and you will first pass through the area called Painted Desert.

To drive through the Petrified Forest National Park takes about 30 minutes net time, but, as I said, count with at least 3 hours to see it well. I have spend two days here ☺


Petrified Forest (Arizona) is about 3 hours drive from Phoenix, 1 hour from Meteor Crater and 3 from Albuquerque.