For some reason unknown to me, my mother always wanted to go to the Petrified Forest. She never made the trip. But, when I was planning a trip to Arizona last February to visit my nieces, I decided to visit this place that so interested my mother. Wow! I really liked this park.
It has two distinct areas. The northern half is the Painted Desert. As the name implies, it’s a very colorful desert. The southern half is where all the petrified wood is found. And, it’s everywhere.
There’s one road that travels from north to south, and mid-way on the road is the Route 66 pull-off. That’s where Route 66 crossed the park, and there’s an old rusted car marking the spot. Very photogenic.
In terms of hiking, there are seven developed (paved) hikes, the longest of which is 2 miles. I hiked all of them, despite some strange weather. The first day, the wind was 60 miles per hour. Couldn’t do the Blue Mesa trail because it was hard to stand up, let alone maneuver along the exposed cliff-side trails. The trails certainly were not crowded. The next morning, the temperature was hovering below 30 degrees. Had Blue Mesa all to myself!
I will definitely go back, and will do some of what the park brochure calls “off the beaten path hikes.” The park encourages hiking off trail. Some of the destinations are old roads or trails that are no longer maintained.
Here are some photos from Petrified Forest National Park: