Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Petrified Forest National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 month ago

You can follow this map to an extent but it won’t lead you directly to the onyx bridge. At the visitor center they have ‘off the map hiking trails’ I would highly advise picking one up. It was a good reference until the very, very end. I google searched onyx bridge coordinates and kept up the destination in my maps..it lead us directly there! Also, on Apple maps there’s a mark that says it’s onyx bridge but it isn’t..so follow the coordinates and happy hiking!

We took this hike the first week in April which was good because it wasn’t too hot yet. A sandy barren hike until you get to the Devils Playground. Very beautiful, different and quiet. So glad we had our gps for much of the hike. We did it on a Wednesday which made it easier to get the permit than on a Saturday.

Very cool place, give yourself plenty of time. We could only do half the park, going southwest to northeast. The park does close at night and if you think you can steal any wood, good luck, they have search stations at the gates.

Absolutely love this park. It’s mostly just drive, stop, look at something amazing and go back to your car. At the most a 1.5 miles hike on pavement. Easy for all levels. Stunning colors, amazing photo ops.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an enjoyable hike. Glad we had this app and GPS. We used it quite a bit and it helped a lot. The trail was pretty easy to stay on until we got into the “wilderness” then we pretty much stayed in the wash and relying on the GPS. When we got to the turn around point we climbed hills and explored all of the petrified wood which didn’t disappoint. It was pretty impressive. We didn’t ever find the Onyx Bridge and that wasn’t from the lack of trying, but that’s ok because it was still good. I think the hike is rated hard because of the switchbacks at the beginning and end of the hike and the lack of marked trails.

I can’t recommend this trail highly enough. It is remote and somewhat poorly marked, but also well within cell service for real-time GPS map updates if/when you need them.The rocks and petrified wood are gorgeous (see my photos). I’m shocked that a place like this doesn’t have more enthusiastic reviews. In some ways, I hate to give up such a gem, but I also hope to see more people visiting and reviewing this great trail!

March 2018 with Michael

Wonderful hike! So worth it, you must go around it to see the petroglyphs.

scenic driving
3 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous!! So many things to see and so breath taking!

hiking
3 months ago

Near the visitor center. You can see many petrified woods here.

hiking
3 months ago

There are only three permits every week but we got it! The scenery of badland is amazing, but I don't recommend you to go there alone, as you will not meet other persons in this area except a devil~

4 months ago

Amazingly beautiful I didn’t think the colors would be so vivid

scenic driving
4 months ago

Our group enjoyed this park a lot! Along the scenic drives there are many opportunities to hike around some and get close to the petrified wood.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked the trail with my wife and my Daughter with her dog Chester. The trail was very easy except when we went straight up the mountain only to come back down. The petrified trees were cool to see and lots of them. The frost coolest thing about the hike is doing it with family the second was the mountain. You will need this app or a map and compass because the trail is not marked and you need to follow a track or wing it. We followed the track in this app and did not find the bridge.

I led a group of Girl Scouts on this trail, starting at the Tawa Trail. It was great, just hot because of the lack of shade. Very easy, slight incline--just bring water!

backpacking
8 months ago

Amazing hike to test your navigation skills! You either need to be good with maps and compass or GPS to find the bridge. I backpacked and camped out there, not finding the bridge that night, but woke up and discovered that I set up camp very close to it at least! Enjoy the silence out there, it is wonderful. I wish I had recorded the hike for the map, but once you get down the rim there is no trail, which makes is interesting. Having the Painted Desert Inn as a reference point is a plus for this type of hiking.

hiking
Monday, May 15, 2017

Short, easy off trail hike recommended by the National Park Service. You will pick up Martha's Butte fairly quickly in the hike, so it is not difficult to find. Suggest that you go around Martha's Butte for more petroglyphs and views. Note: No shade.

hiking
Sunday, May 14, 2017

GIANT

hiking
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Terrific unmaintained trail to a butte with sweet petroglyphs.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Unexpected beauty. You cannot beat these views. Definitely worth your time.

scenic driving
Friday, March 24, 2017

We drove the straight wide-open Interstate 40 east to Holbrook (you could smell the AZ forest fires off to the south even though you could not see them) and then 20 miles on Hwy 180 south to the southern entrance of Petrified Forest National Park, which is also connected to the Painted Desert and the Badlands along the 27 mile drive. Entering the park we drove past a giant gift store selling petrified wood and then got a picture at the park entrance sign. The park is a wide-open expanse of desert and steppe-like terrain. At the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor’s Center were many displays on the formation of petrified wood, fossilized bones and teeth of ancient animals, and a display of redemptive letters from people who stole wood from the park and later regretted it (it is bad luck). Because an estimated 25,000 pounds of petrified wood are stolen from the park every year, the NPS has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for visitors who remove even the smallest pieces.
Violators are subject to fines starting at $275 (it might be more now). If rangers suspect you of removing any wood or other resources, they may detain you and search your car. We were asked if we had removed anything as we departed the park, but were not checked (and we didn’t take any wood). Just outside the museum is the Giant Logs self-guided trail, an easy .4mi. stroll showing logs like Old Faithful (almost 10 feet long, 5 feet in diameter and 44 tons!)
Almost directly across the parking lot from the museum is another hike, the Long Logs trail, 0.6 mi. RT and has the largest concentration of wood in the park. This relatively flat, paved loop gives an idea of the immensity of the Araucarioxylon trees that grew in this area during the Triassic Period. Many of the longest logs, including one that measures 116 feet, lie alongside the trail on the north end of the loop. The different colored layers are caused by mineral deposits in the clay. Another hike, 1.5 mi. RT to 8-room Agate House, leads you to the ruins of a pueblo built from colorful agate, petrified wood; a pueblo that archaeologists believe was briefly occupied around a.d. 1100. Colorful bits of petrified wood dot the ground on the way to the pueblo, which sits atop a knoll overlooking a vast expanse of desert. Made from petrified wood and mortar, Agate House must have been one of the prettiest dwellings anywhere. We saw the unusual formations known as The Flattops, caused by the erosion of softer mineral deposits from beneath a harder and more erosion-resistant layer of sandstone. We walked the .75 mile Crystal Forest path, named for the beautiful amethyst and quartz crystals once found in the cracks of petrified logs. We also stopped at the Agate Bridge and saw a petrified log that forms a natural agate bridge. We drove by Jasper Forest Overlook, with logs having petrified roots, and descended the Blue Mesa to the floor beneath - some of the prettiest land in the park. The hillsides are streaked and blend where the clay has washed into drainages.
We next drove by the very interesting Teepees, eroded triangular sandstone and clay formations that look like sand paintings, colored by manganese, iron and other minerals in the soil. We skipped by Newspaper Rock, a dense concentration of petroglyphs left by generations of Native Americans, and also the nearby 100-room Puerco Pueblo, the park's largest archaeological site, containing the remains of homes built by the people who created the park's petroglyphs (This pueblo was probably built sometime around 1400 and has many petroglyphs on the backside). North of Puerco Pueblo, we crossed I-40 and entered the Painted Desert, named for vivid colors created by minerals dissolved in sandstone and clay soils that were deposited during different geologic periods. At Kachina Point, we ate peanut butter sandwiches and visited the Painted Desert Inn, a historic building that's currently being restored. The inn, built in 1924, is where you'll usually see Native American craftspeople giving demonstrations (we didn’t see any, but it was a nice gift store). The Painted Desert Rim Trail meanders along the Painted Desert rim between Kachina and Tawa points, with stunning views of the desert, where gray, pink, and red badlands stand out against the green grasses at their bases and a more interesting route leads down into the Painted Desert from behind the Painted Desert Inn, the Painted Desert Wilderness Trail, about 0.5 mi. one-way. After a brief visit at the PD VC, we got back on I-40 and headed east to Chambers and took a left on Hwy 191 north to Canyon de Chelley at Chinle.

hiking
Friday, February 03, 2017

Fun to locate using navigational skills as the trail runs out, stopped here for a bit on our way to the wilderness area for an overnight camp.

scenic driving
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

As far as scenic drives go, this is a solid outing. Terrain is variable constantly and the painted deserts are gorgeous.

walking
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Definitely better trees to see in the park, but the info from the walking guide is a solid introduction to petrifaction and the history of the park.

scenic driving
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Very beautiful Park, so many nice formations and colors

hiking
Saturday, October 01, 2016

Beautiful red sandstone features and desolate isolation leaves the entire wilderness to you most of the time during the hike. A must experience for the intrepid traveller.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Beautiful views

walking
Friday, August 19, 2016

Very simple and short trail to see lots of petrified logs.

hiking
Friday, August 19, 2016

This is a great for an exploration into the past. You can see lots of petrified trees and views of the painted desert.

hiking
Friday, August 19, 2016

Very easy hike with some nice views of the area.

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