Spring Sale! Get a year of AllTrails Pro for only $14.99
Get Started

Petrified Forest Scenic Drive

MODERATE 40 reviews

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.

28.6 miles
977 feet
Point to Point

dogs on leash

kid friendly

nature trips

scenic driving



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.

scenic driving
7 months ago

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.

scenic driving
7 months ago

8 months ago

Absolutely worth the drive. Some amazing views of the Arizona high desert.

9 months ago

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!

11 months ago

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.

11 months ago

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.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 2018 with Michael

scenic driving
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

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

scenic driving
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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.

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.

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.

scenic driving
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Very beautiful Park, so many nice formations and colors

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.

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.

scenic driving
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nice park, take your time and get into it a little. Excellent exhibits and good short hikes

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Really fun to explore the wilderness area behind the Painted Desert Inn. My daughter loved climbing the hills. The hike out is a little challenging, but short.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Great! One of the best parks I've been to
Would recommend as a stop on a Grand Canyon trip

scenic driving
Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Very cool area. Loved it as a kid.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We visited around Nov 1, 2014. We started at the north end at the visitor's center and then drove south stopping at a few overlooks and scenic views. See the painted desert, but save time for the petrified forest. There are trails in and around trees that now is rock/quartz. Taking petrified wood from the National Park is forbidden. However, just outside the park, you can get pieces of the petrified wood VERY cheap as people own land around the park and have access to petrified wood. There seems to be an overabundance people are willing to sell cheaply. This was primarily a driving experience with many stops along the way. Views are worth it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Multiple trails at the park, many identified and reviewed on this site. Highly recommend the backpack trails.

scenic driving
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Returned this year and hiked a few more trails. This is a unique park. highly recommend to all.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

As a little girl traveling with my family, I remember seeing the park from the car. Now that I've grown up, I have had the chance to enjoy the beauty of the park along the Rim Trail from the Desert Inn. Spectacular views abound if you will take the time to look around. Also take time to visit the ruins and see the petroglyphs in the park. With all the beauty of the north and south ends, don't miss the locomotive rumbling across the desert. Somehow I could see a band of mounted bandits racing the train. Sometimes, my imagination gets the best of me!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Decent if you're going to drive through it, but not worth getting out of the car and walking around. So many better parks and hikes.

scenic driving
Saturday, June 08, 2013

Very nice scenic drive with great scenic overlooks on the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. Several small walking trails along the way. Good photography points all along.

scenic driving
Sunday, June 02, 2013

I have done it a couple times and loved it. There are places just outside where you can buy petrified wood.

scenic driving
Monday, March 18, 2013

An easy drive through the desert, that I would recommend to all

nature trips
Friday, March 02, 2012

We were on our way back from Moab UT and traveling to Phoenix AZ. Since this was on our way, we did the scenic drive as well as stopped at the Visitor Center. Worth the time.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This is a stunning place but its a day trip at best and hard to appreciate as you must really stay off the ground and on the roads. Still, it is gorgeous, and better to stay preserved.

scenic driving
Sunday, March 13, 2011

The drive through the petrified forest is a unique experience that began for us at the visitor center and then passed through huge examples of petrified wood in pristine colorful desesrt scenery. Recommend to everyone.

Load More