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Petrified Forest Scenic Drive is a 28.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Chambers, Arizona that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for nature trips and scenic driving and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 28.6 mi Elevation gain 977 ft Route type Point to Point
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Nature trips Scenic driving Paved Views
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Getting There

Petrified Forest National Park and the visitor center and musuem are open at different hours during the year. Hour Changes are: Jan 1 - Feb 27 8am to 5pm Feb 28 - May 8 7am to 6pm May 9 - Sept 6 7am to 7pm Sept 7 - Oct 23 7am to 6pm Oct 24 - Dec 31 8am to 5pm Camping; backpack camping allowed by permit obtained at the visitor center. Other camping is fee camping by private organizations outside of the park.

Painted Desert Visitor Center and Park Headquarters Superintendent, Petrified Forest National Park PO Box 2217 Petrified Forest, AZ 86028 Phone (928) 524-6228

Driving from Phoenix 1) travel Interstates 17 North and 40 East, passing through Flagstaff (259 miles), or 2) travel Highways 87 North to Payson, 260 East to Heber, 377 North to Holbrook, and 180 South to the park (215 miles). Driving from Albuquerque travel 204 miles west on Interstate 40 to Exit 311.

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Reviews (77)
Photos (164)
Recordings (23)
Completed (367)
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Heather Widmer
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Scenic drivingGreat!
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Kristen K
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Scenic drivingFeeGreat!

Loved it! Give yourself time, we wanted to do a quick trip and ended up taking about 2 hours and that was us moving quick! There is just so many stops that you want to stop and take pictures at and read about the history!

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Clisby White
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This is the main road through the park. If you are visiting the park driving west to east enter the park from 180 like the signs recommend and head north. It's about a 30 minute drive if you don't stop but there are multiple viewpoints along the way. There is some construction work around the halfway point that might set you back about 10 minutes.

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Gloria Thompson
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Hiking

Had a blast visiting here. Stopped along the way to walk part of Blue Mesa and other areas. Hope to return to complete the painted desert.

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Andy Ho
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Hiking

Just a quick cursory survey of Petrified Forest NP. I got out at a number of viewpoints and walked the Blue Mesa loop and half of the Crystal Forest - no cover, so bring water and a good hat

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Rob Krumwiede
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Awesome drive, even got to see a few Pronghorns along the way!

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Ethan Williams
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Scenic driving
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Andrea Cagle
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Scenic drivingFeeNo shadeOff trailRocky

Absolutely stunning views of the painted desert!

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$15 $40
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 3, 2019
Scenic driving

I drove it. Stopped here and there and logged about 10 miles of hikes. Still some more left for next time.

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Kayla Roberts
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Scenic driving

Did the scenic driving this time which was nice - but would love to get on the trails next time. Especially with Blue Mesa and Crystal Forest there are trails that allow for a more intimate up close experience. The lookout points are alittle far from the land features, but this drive is good for families with babies or kids that don’t wanna hike.

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Hypsy Gypsy
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HikingNo shade

A fun drive and lots to pull off the road to see and do. We completed the drive in 3 hours stopping to see almost every point of interest. Museums Hikes Nature Walks Meditation Photography Gift shops Food/snacks

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Dan Marlin
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Hiking

Beautiful road and a couple good stops along the way. Worth it if you’re on 40 and need a break.

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Ellen Siena
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Beautiful drive showcases different topography with many area to get out and walk. The information signs at each trail/ lookout are very informative. We thoroughly enjoyed the drive and walking the different trails.

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Klaudia Alexandra
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Hiking

Nice drive. A lot of view points. The red desert looks amazing! All these colors were spectacular.

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Joshua Henderson
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Scenic driving

Beautiful scenic drive with a few spots to hike around. Loved the park!

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Michael Gonzales
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Scenic driving

Great scenic drive along the park. Has great vista views and doesn't get crowded. Highly recommend the Blue Mesa Trail, Desert Inn for the vista as well as ice cream downstairs, and of course the Petrified Logs in the southern entrance. I didn't stop at all the locations, but these were the stops that I made and would recommend. A very underrated National Park in my opinion.

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Ofelia Rodríguez
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Scenic driving
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Charlie Keeme
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Absolutely worth the drive. Some amazing views of the Arizona high desert.

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Kristen Hocker
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Very interesting and scenic! We got our at several places to walk around and check things out up close. You can buy some petrified wood at the shop of local wares and touristy stuff by the museum which we arrived to late for. But the trail behind Museum was great!

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Nate Heffron
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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.

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Maria N
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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.

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Classified Noneoffyourbusiness
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HikingGreat!
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Susan Schoemehl
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March 2018 with Michael

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Taylor Scifo
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Scenic driving

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

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Jeffrey Thate
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Scenic driving

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.

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Bill Watson
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Scenic driving

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.

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