Chiricahua National Monument | December 2021
Ramblings | Keeping Up

Petrified Forest National Park | December 2021

Our second stop in Arizona on our winter road trip was Petrified Forest National Park. Located outside of Holbrook in the northeast corner of the state, this park is exactly as it is named - a 'forest' of petrified wood scattered all over the damn place. Like.... ALL OVER. It is everywhere and there is sooooo much of it! 200 million-ish years ago, dead trees were washed into a river and created log jams. I think a volcano erupted, burying the wood under lava and ash and stuff, then - voila - petrified wood! 

Fetchimage

Not gonna lie, I don't really understand how it happens. For that, I would have to defer to my geologist brother, but stuff happens underground and the wood gets turned into quartz. Petrified Forest National Park is considered to be one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the entire world! So, needless to say, it's a pretty cool place.

We didn't have as much time to explore as I would have liked due to a flat tire from the previous day and needing to make an unscheduled trip to Discount Tire. We mostly played windshield tourist, but that's okay. There is no camping allowed in the park so we just went for a day visit.

The park has two entrances - the north and south. We started at the south end in the Rainbow Forest and worked our way north to the Painted Desert. Upon entering the park, we stopped at the visitor center to look around. Of course, Lily had to get some souvenirs so I bought her a tshirt and sticker (and somehow managed to lose the t-shirt before we ever made it back to Texas because it is MIA now). After the visitor center, we walked over to the trailhead for the Long Logs trail. It was cold AF but we were determined to get at least a short hike in! The Long Logs trail also includes the Agate House trail, which leads you to a small pueblo that was made entirely out of petrified wood about 700 years ago. Combined, the two trails make a 2.6 mile trail which ended up being the perfect distance, since the cold was a little unpleasant. 

After hiking, we drove up through the park towards the Painted Desert. We stopped at a number of overlooks along the way and, when we reached the northern end of the park, we stopped at a picnic area and I busted out the grill and made a late breakfast for us since we hadn't eaten before heading out.

The park is beautiful and has a variety of geological attractions! If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a stop!

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