Have you ever wanted to visit the Petrified Forest National Park? I know it has always been on my bucket list and now that I was able to go, I’m pretty excited. Some would mark the Petrified Forest Park as one of the top places to visit in Phoenix, I’d have to agree.
The Ultimate Guide to Petrified Forest National Park Arizona
So this park is set up a bit different than some I’ve been to. The park drive isn’t a loop. You start at one end and end up at the other. You can turn around and come back again though. We started at the Route 66 entrance at the North part of the park and drove south. You can come in from the south and head north too. There are 12 main stops on the route, here they are in the order we took them!
Painted Desert Visitor Center
This has all the park info, get your passport stamps, Jr Ranger books and park info here. Plus there are some pretty views.
You can do all this without paying the park entrance fee. Once you leave here to start the journey you will have to pay.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to The National Park Service Junior Ranger Program & Junior Ranger Badges
Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark
This started out as a trading post along with this route. It was later turned into an Inn and now is a museum in the park.
Painted Desert Overlooks
The painted desert isn’t visible from the highway but from inside the park, the views are truly beautiful!
Related: Our Roaming Hearts Route 66 Calendar
Route 66 Alignment
The park road crosses right over Route 66 so they do have a Route 66 stop with a 1932 Studebaker that broke down right there. If you look in the background you can see what is now Route 66 heading into Holbrook AZ.
Related: 30 Must Stop at Route 66 Attractions
There is a 0.3-mile loop trail along the road where you can see what is left of these Pueblos.
When you walk up to the overlook this point doesn’t look like anything special. But the park provides coin-operated binocular scopes (but they are free!) to look down and see the over 650 petroglyphs some dating over 2000 years old.
I’m not going to lie, I totally expected these to be blue! I mean it’s in the name, but no they are grey. There is a 1-mile hike into the Blue Mesa’s or there is the 3.5-mile drive we did with amazing views from above.
This is a 110-foot petrified log that fell over a gully and now provides a natural bridge. You aren’t allowed on it and they have since helped to support it to keep it where it is.
Here is where you can really start to see all the petrified wood that the park is so well known for. This is the highest concentration of wood in the area.
If you want to get a closer look at the Petrified Forest, then the Crystal Forest is a great place to start. This is a ¾ mile loop that anyone can enjoy walking on. Many of the logs here have quartz on them, giving them the name of crystal forest.
Rainbow Forest Museum
This is the Visitor Center at the opposite end of the park from where we started. You can also start here and work your way backward on the sites above.
Long Logs Trail
Get a personal look at the longest concentration of fossil trees in the Petrified Forest National Park. This trail is about one and a half miles long.
Stop and see the Agate House as well, which is a 900-year-old dwelling.
You will find the Petrified Forest National Park Arizona as you head into the New Mexico Board on I-40. There are tons of signs and you should have no problem locating this amazing forest.