Petrified Forest National Park
Painted Desert Visitor Center (north end) has a 17-minute film on how wood is petrified. Rainbow Forest Museum (south end) has exhibits of petrified wood and of the area's geological story and human history. Two wilderness areas offer cross-country hiking and backpack camping. Ask about hiking, wilderness camping permits, weather conditions, and maps at visitor centers. There is no water away from the developed areas. Take plenty on hikes and overnight trips, and always start your return before half your water supply is gone!
At Painted Desert you'll find a restaurant, service station, and a gift shop. At Rainbow Forest there's a gift shop and a water fountain. Food and overnight accommodations may be found in nearby communities.
Camping and Picnics
There are no campgrounds in the park. Only wilderness backpack camping is allowed. Obtain the required free permit at a visitor center. Find picnic areas at Chinde Point and Rainbow Forest.
Petrified Forest can be reached from either U.S. 180 or I-40. Eastbound Visitors should enter the park at the south entrance via US 180 from Holbrook, then travel north through the park, exiting eastbound on I-40. Westbound Visitors should use the north entrance off 1-40, proceeding south through the park to US 180 to Holbrook and 1-40.
There is no direct public transportation servicing the national park. The nearest airports are in Flagstaff or Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Take the bus (Greyhound) to Holbrook, Arizona. If you want to travel by trail, take Amtrak to Winslow, Arizona, or Gallup, New Mexico. Rental cars are available at airports or locally in Winslow, Holbrook, or Gallup.
The weather in northeast Arizona is variable and difficult to predict. Winter highs are usually in the 40's with lows in the 20's (Fahrenheit). Periodic winter storms may bring snow and result in park road closures. Summer highs are typically in the 90's with cool nights around 50. Summer thunderstorms are frequent; they bring approximately 40 percent of the park's 9 to 11 inches of precipitation.
Petrified Forest National Park was established to preserve the area for future generations. Therefore, collecting petrified wood, plants, animals, fossils, artifacts or any other object in the park is strictly prohibited.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication