USA April 05, 2018
How To Plan Your Perfect Trip To Arizona’s Petrified Forest
If you haven’t yet been to Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, this may be a perfect year to go. The incredibly beautiful petrified trees found within the park date back to a mind-blowing 215 million years or so, and the dramatic desertscape makes for a must-see place to visit. While the area was designated as a national monument in 1906, the park constantly reinvents itself with new adventures and hike areas. Before you go, however, consider these 10 tips to ensure a memorable trip:
1. Plan ahead.
While it's entirely possible to have a good time just road-tripping in at the last minute, you'll likely get lower airfare into Flagstaff, Ariz., or Albuquerque, N.M., with at least 30 days notice. Some of the preferred hotels book up during prime season, also.
2. Choose the season.
These geological formations referred to as The Tepees are viewable year-round. But summer is the busiest and often the rainiest season. If you have flexibility, consider the fall, when you can visit with milder temperatures, less crowds, and while wildflowers are still in bloom.
3. Pick a side.
Choose between the north and south when viewing the Painted Desert. Visitor Centers are found at both park entrances, each with its own advantages. The northern side features more about the historical people and the Painted Desert vistas like the one shown here, while the southern end features the most petrified wood. It takes about an hour to get from one end of the park to the other.
4. Give yourself a history lesson before you visiting.
Understand more about what it is you will be seeing, and why it is so truly remarkable. You can learn more about the petrified wood and the Triassic-era fossils at the park's Rainbow Forest Museum, which is a good starting point to your adventure.
6. Opt for a guided tour to really learn from the experience.
While self-tours can provide a nice overview, consider a guided tour to really learn from the pros. The park rangers have all sorts of facts and interesting stories that aren't found in the tourist brochures.
7. Be sure to visit the Agate House.
The Petrified Dwelling
Agate House is made of blocks of petrified wood.
8. Give yourself plenty of time.
Each rock formation has an interesting and vibrant history, which takes time to learn about and truly appreciate. Cultural demonstrations, geocaching and even Junior Ranger programs are offered as well.
9. Take a hike.
There are numerous short hike options, including numerous ones that are 2 miles or less. If you have longer, consider backpacking in the park's Wilderness Area.
10. Consider camping.
Camping is permitted, but you'll need to pick up a free permit in person at either the Painted Desert Visitor Center, Painted Desert Inn, or Rainbow Forest Museum, at least an hour before the park closes.
The park is open daily from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. except for Christmas Day. Park Rangers have developed
sample itineraries to help visitors plan their experience.
Have you seen the Petrified Forest and the beautiful badlands, and if so, what did you consider the best part of your experience? Do you have any photos of your travel experience there you wouldn’t mind sharing? For related content, you’ll love these 1
5 beautiful photos that will change the way you see U.S. deserts.