Overview of Petrified Forest National Park

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Petrified Forest National Park is located in northeastern Arizona and spans over 346 square miles. The park is renowned for its breathtaking geological formations and is home to one of the world’s largest and most well-preserved forests of petrified wood. The park is a fascinating destination that offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time and experience the natural wonders of the ancient world.


The history of the Petrified Forest National Park dates back millions of years, to a time when the region was a lush, forested landscape that was home to numerous species of plants and animals. Over time, the area was subjected to a series of volcanic eruptions, which covered the forest in layers of ash and pumice. As the trees fell and were buried by sediment, minerals such as silica slowly replaced the organic matter, preserving the wood and giving it its unique, crystalline appearance.

In the late 19th century, the region became a popular destination for fossil hunters and collectors, who removed countless pieces of petrified wood from the park’s ancient forests. Concerned about the loss of this natural treasure, the federal government established Petrified Forest National Monument in 1906, which was later elevated to national park status in 1962.


The geology of the park is fascinating and offers visitors the opportunity to explore a wide range of rock formations and geological features. The park is home to a diverse array of sedimentary, volcanic, and metamorphic rocks, each with its unique characteristics and history.

Some of the most significant geological formations in the park include the Chinle Formation, which is a multicolored rock formation that is rich in fossils and dates back to the Late Triassic period. The park is also home to the Painted Desert, a vast expanse of colorful badlands that are composed of layers of sedimentary rocks and volcanic ash. Additionally, the park is home to the Tepees, which are unique cone-shaped rock formations that were formed by volcanic ash and erosion.

Things to do

Petrified Forest National Park offers visitors a wide range of activities and attractions. Some of the most popular things to do in the park include hiking, camping, and exploring the ancient petrified forests. Visitors can take guided tours of the park’s various geological formations, or explore on their own using the park’s extensive trail system.

One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Painted Desert Inn, a historic lodge that was built in the 1920s and is now a National Historic Landmark. The inn offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the region, and also serves as a starting point for many of the park’s guided tours.


Petrified Forest National Park is a fascinating destination that offers visitors the opportunity to explore the geological wonders of the ancient world. The park’s vast expanse of petrified wood, colorful badlands, and unique geological formations make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in geology, history, or nature. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, Petrified Forest National Park is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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