petrified

  • Arizona
  • Established December 9, 1962
  • 150 square miles

Visit the Petrified Forest National Park and you’ll swear that if you just focus your energy intensely enough, if you just have faith, you can lift one of the logs—lift it over to a campfire, strike a match, get warm. This is what the mind does with the unfamiliar: try to contain it in the known categories. But, this wood isn’t wood. It’s stone. America’s National Parks explains the process of converting wood into stone this way: “Floods and lava flows originally uprooted the trees, washing them down from the surrounding highlands and burying them in silt and volcanic ash. Water seeped through the wood and replaced decaying organic material, cell by cell, with multi-colored silica, ultimately leaving behind remarkable rock replicates of long-eroded logs.”

In addition to the gorgeous, and very heavy, petrified logs, there are also petrified conifers, fossilized prehistoric amphibians, fossilized primeval crocodilelike dinosaur (called a Phytosaurs), and fossilized Placerias (a rhinoceroslike mammal). And then there’s “Gertie,” the six-foot fossilized Chindesaurus, one of North America’s first dinosaur species. To see the fossils and logs, you have to get up close. Then step back, and look out, and there’s the radiant desert, shouting with color. To believe it, you have to see it, and we heartily recommend that you do.

National Parks Revealed will help you really make the most of your trip to the Petrified Forest National Park. We recommend combining a visit to the Petrified Forest with visits to other nearby parks, such as the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley, We will put together a custom itinerary just for you, that will give you as much time as you want in the Petrified Forest. If you’re not sure what you most want to do, we certainly have suggestions and recommendations. As always, we will arrange for you to stay at the best accommodations in the area.