Stone Trees in the Petrified Forest

posted in: Outdoors, Travel | 5

The Petrified Forest is a National Park in Arizona that celebrates the strange process that wood goes through when it’s left alone for thousands of years.

Zartusacan - The Petrified Forest

It looks like wood on the outside, but it’s turned into stone.

Don’t be fooled by the name, you aren’t going to find lush green forest here – this National Park is in the heart of the desert and there are barely any living trees at all. But there used to be, and those trees have fallen and broken and over time have turned to stone.

Zartusacan - The Petrified Forest

Wood turned to stone.

And these stone trees are absolutely beautiful. Some of them have turned to Quartz and sparkle in the sunshine in all kinds of colours. We stopped in one of the many road-side car parks to walk along one of the trails. We chose the Crystal Forest Loop as it promised lots of the colourful shiny logs, and we weren’t disappointed; it was hot walking in the desert but the easy trail was full of these unusual and beautiful trees. We were even treated to a sky that could have inspired The Simpsons’ opening sequence.

Zartusacan - The Petrified Forest, view from Kachina Point

The view from Kachina Point, Petrified Forest National Park.

To start with I thought someone from the National Park Service had been around and used a chainsaw to chop the trees up and then cement them into the ground to stop people taking them home or selling them (it is illegal to take the petrified wood from the park; on entry into the park you are given a ticket on which you can report anyone you spot stealing). But it’s all natural, and it’s weirdness is one of the reasons this place is protected – sand dunes that look like cement, trees that are now stone, fossils of prehistoric creatures, and colourful desert views.

Zartusacan - The Petrified Forest

Petrified wood stuck in solid sediment.

We also stopped at Kachina Point which provides stunning views of the painted desert, and is the starting (or finishing) point for many back country walks possible in this huge desert.

Zartusacan - The Petrified Forest

Quartz from wood.

The Petrified Forest is definitely one of the more unusual National Parks in the USA, and it was well worth the visit.

Have you been? What are your top tips for visiting the Petrified Forest?

See All the Posts > Our #Zartusacan Road Trip

5 Responses

  1. Lifewrangling

    How fantastic! I love getting out and experiencing all of the different places this world has to offer. We saw some petrified wood at Grand Canyon Caverns a couple of years ago. The kids were particularly taken by it. There is so much for children to learn from getting out and about. Here are some of my thoughts on that.

    • Splodz

      We saw the petrified wood at the Grand Canyon Caverns too – definitely confirmed to us we wanted to visit the Petrified Forest. Getting outdoors and travelling is definitely an awesome way to learn – for adults as well as kids.

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