Under the Radar- Petrified National Forest Park

When was the last time you hiked a glacier or followed a trail of wildflowers, or just sat on a rock in nature, listening to all the sounds and soaking up the warm sun?

The 100th anniversary of National Parks is next week on August 25, 2016 and I suggest before the summer completely slides away, to take advantage of the waived entrance fee at the National Park closest to you in celebration of their  national birthday weekend.

However, if you want something off the beaten path, check out the Arizona Petrified Forest National Park. This park is less crowded than most other national parks and is located in the northeastern part of Arizona about 25 miles east of Holbrook, Arizona. It is a fascinating place to visit, abundant with geographical history. Also, the Painted Desert is adjacent to the Petrified Forest, so it is a great opportunity to visit and hike around both historical sites in a single trip.  There are many viewpoints where you’ll want to stop to view the scenery including Kachina Point, Chinde Point, the Puerco Indian Ruins, Newspaper Rock, the Tepees, Blue Mesa, Jasper Forest Overlook, Crystal Forest, and the Flattops. On the trail through Giant Logs, you’ll find the Rainbow Forest Museum.

Imagine walking back through time in a place where dinosaurs once roamed over 225 million years ago. A time when lush green forests ruled the landscape with 200 foot tall conifers. Volcanic mountains erupted toppling the trees. Swept away by waterways and covered with volcanic ash and sediment, these trees became entombed and over millions of years became petrified. Through gradual erosion, gigantic logs and remnant pieces became exposed for the world to experience.

The best times to visit this park is in the fall, winter or even early spring.  The temps can get quite high and there isn’t much shelter out there. Also, please respectful and don’t take any souvenirs home of petrified wood.  Geronimo’s Trading Post is located in Holbrook and you can buy all the petrified wood you want!

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