Petrified Forest Arizona

Petrified Forest Arizona

National Park in Arizona

The Petrified Forest in Arizona is located more than 2 hours aways from Flagstaff.  If you are driving to or from New Mexico or northeastern Arizona, then the Petrified National Park is a must see for visitors.  Just off Interstate 40 is the north entrance to the park.  Starting here, you will see the Painted Desert.  Travel south through the park to find petrified wood.

Petrified Forest National Park is located in northeastern Arizona, east of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is a natural wonder that leaves visitors in awe. The park is renowned for its incredible collection of petrified wood, which dates back over 200 million years. Walking through this fossilized forest is like stepping back in time and witnessing the ancient beauty that once existed on our planet. The vibrant colors and intricate details of the petrified logs are truly remarkable, providing a unique insight into the Earth’s geological history. However, the park offers much more than just petrified wood – it boasts a diverse array of landscapes. There are serene grassland plains to dramatic badlands, making it a paradise for nature lovers. With its rich cultural heritage, captivating fossils, and breathtaking vistas, Petrified Forest National Park is undeniably a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to connect with the Earth’s ancient past and immerse themselves in the splendor of nature.

Want something fun to do this weekend, visit our Flagstaff Calendar of Events page.

Directions to the Petrified Forest from Flagstaff Arizona.

There are 2 entrances to the park. The north entrance is off Interstate 40 at exit 311. The second entrance is on State Route 180. Because the park runs north and south, it is possible to drive straight through. Depending on where you are coming from, it might be best to access the south entrance and continue north to the interstate. Find out what we mean.

The north entrance is closest to the Painted Desert, while the south entrance is closer to the petrified wood.

Hours of operation
Petrified Forest is not open 24 hours a day. It typically opens at 8:00am and closes at 5:00pm. Depending on the season, the park hours may change. It is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Admission
Admission is $25 per vehicle. An “America the Beautiful Pass” is also accepted as well as the other National Park Passes. Motorcycles are $20.

Stop at Walnut Canyon along Interstate 40 for cliff dwellings. Find your way from Flagstaff to Snowbowl when you want to take a drive or go skiing.

Petrified Forest History

The history of the Petrified Forest dates back millions of years, where a once lush and thriving forest stood in what is now central Arizona. This ancient forest was home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, flourishing during the late Triassic period. Over time, intense volcanic activity and shifting geological processes caused the trees to fall and become buried under layers of sediment. As the organic material slowly decomposed, groundwater percolated through the layers, carrying with its minerals like silica. This process, known as mineralization, gradually replaced the original organic material with minerals, resulting in the remarkable phenomenon we see today – an extraordinary collection of petrified wood that preserves the intricate details of this prehistoric forest. The Petrified Forest stands as a testament to the immense depths of time and the awe-inspiring beauty that nature has to offer.

Read our list of the Top 10 Things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona.