The Ultimate Guide to Petrified Forest National Park Arizona

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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.

Some would mark the Petrified Forest National Park as one of the top places to visit in the Phoenix area. Take a look in the park here. #arizona #nationalpark #petrifiedforest #ourromainghearts | National Park Sites | Petrified Forest | Arizona National Parks | Arizona Travel

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

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

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

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


Painted Dessert National Park - Route 66 Alignment

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

Pettrified Forest National Park - Puerco Pueblo

Puerco Pueblo

There is a 0.3-mile loop trail along the road where you can see what is left of these Pueblos.

Petrifed Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock

Newspaper Rock

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.

Blue Mesa

Blue Mesa

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. 

Petrified Forest National Park - Agate Bridge

Agate Bridge

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.

Related: Top 12 Best Things to do in Sedona Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park Arizona - Jasper Forest

Jasper Forest

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.

Crystal Forest

Crystal Forest

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. 

Related: Fun Things to do on Vacation in Every State in America

Rainbow Forest Museum - Petrified Forest National Park Ariona

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.

Agate House

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.

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