Petrified Forest Trail

MODERATE 83 reviews

Petrified Forest Trail is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fairfield, North Dakota that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running.

Distance: 10.2 miles Elevation Gain: 833 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

running

views

wildlife

no shade

no dogs

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail! Was tough to locate the Maah Daah Hey Trail from the North branch of the Petrified Forest Loop Trail.

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

This is a great loop with plenty of wildlife. Be mindful of the bison. Keep a good distance between you and them.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Petrified tree stumps are amazing. After 0.5 entrance trail, go right 1 mi for easier trail to petrified forest remains, then double back to split to go to other petrified forest location- left trail at junction has steep decline off mesa. Watch for posts to stay on trail. In wet weather trail is very slippery.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
no shade
over grown
4 months ago

Great hike. The trail is in okay shape. It's muddy and overgrown in places. There is good trail marking. The best petrified forrest is on the North leg. The South and East legs are mostly on a prairie plateau. The North legs passes down into a beautiful canyon and out the other side.

hiking
4 months ago

Solid trail. Google Maps and Apple Maps are confused about how to get you to the trailhead. After that, it’s stunning views with bison and pronghorn.

hiking
4 months ago

Excellent hike definately worth the 10 mile loop. The petrified forest was amazing! We saw one wild horse and hundreds of buffalo!!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful scenery and for the most part an easy hike in good conditions. We did not do the full loop opting instead to head left at the fork and explore the north section. There are fairly two short steep parts that are a bit washed and could be difficult going for someone who has trouble going up or down hills. The first petrified trees (stumps) are at the base of the descent. If you have time head across the valley and up to hill on the other side. There’s a grove of petrified stumps still in place about halfway up. As for wildlife we saw bison. Wild horses had left their mark but we didn’t see any on our hike. We heard but did not see a rattlesnake which was warning away some other hikers. Other hikers reported seeing pronghorn.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful scenery and for the most part an easy hike in good conditions. We did not do the full loop opting instead to head left at the fork and explore the north section. There are fairly two short steep parts that are a bit washed and could be difficult going for someone who has trouble going up or down hills. The first petrified trees (stumps) are at the base of the descent. If you have time head across the valley and up to hill on the other side. There’s a grove of petrified stumps still in place about halfway up. As for wildlife we saw bison. Wild horses had left their mark but we didn’t see any on our hike. We heard but did not see a rattlesnake which was warning away some other hikers. Other hikers reported seeing pronghorn.

hiking
5 months ago

Went to the north portion, climb up a short ways to the prairie and then down to the petrified forest. Cool large stumps and logs. Hiked up on the Butte for more prairie views before turning around.

hiking
6 months ago

We only did the North Petrified Forest Area. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it, provided the weather is dry. We tried to hike it early this morning during a light rain. By the time we got almost to the beginning of the trail loop, the clay had become slick as ice. I slipped once while attempting to climb to top of the second hill and decided turn back. We were covered in mud by the time we got back to the parking lot. Luckily the afternoon was nice and we returned. Petrified stumps were numerous and you can easily get right up next to them. If we had more time we would have done the whole loop. If it’s dry, not a difficult hike, just bring water.

hiking
muddy
no shade
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

it's a great trail but we had quite an adventure dodging a couple hundred bison, and got turned around twice and had no choice but to walk by about fifty of them giving them wide berth to get back to the vehicle.

hiking
7 months ago

I did the entire loop. It was nice especially on the north side. I went clockwise due to a group of feral horses blocking the south side when the loop first divides. There were a lot of ticks in the start of the north side and a tiny bit of unavoidable mud. It came off half way through the entire loop though. There was a lot of wind due to being in a grassy plain area half way through the loop. Good trail!

hiking
7 months ago

Nice little hike. Pretty easy especially on a dry day. The petrified forest is a little underwhelming, but not many places have it in abundance. The road there is a little tricky, but follow the directions in trail map from visitor center also google maps will get you there.

gorgeous trail! lots of bison!

8 months ago

Awesome trail! The mostly meadow part did get a bit boring, but overall this is a great trail. Enjoyed it. Had to circumvent some buffalos at the end who were blocking the exit.

hiking
8 months ago

This was our favorite trail. This trail should be rated moderate due to the length and steep hill at the end of the north forest trail. regardless, loved this hike. beautiful and easy walk through the maah daah hey portion and of course the petrified Forrest's were very cool. if you do a portion of this trail, go the north trail. The north forest is a lot more interesting.

hiking
Tue Oct 02 2018

Just did a small portion of the south loop due to time constraints. Beautiful area, cool petrified wood.

hiking
Thu Sep 27 2018

Very cool thing to see. We started off going to the south loop but shortly along the path a big bison came up along the trail blocking our way. We waited a while but ended up turning around and going north. This was a gorgeous part of the loop! It was quite chilly and windy.

hiking
Tue Sep 25 2018

Outstanding trail and petrified forest was amazing. Dear lord I sound like Donald Trump.

Fri Jun 22 2018

This trail was beautiful! Be careful-there we’re a ton of ticks in the high grasses and bring plenty of water for everyone in your party. Also be careful around the bison. All the ones we saw were very calm but they can charge at any time. One was directly in our path to return and we had to keep our distance. The rock formations and petrified trees were pretty awesome though!

hiking
Sun Jun 03 2018

Very beautiful trail. Nice mix of open prairie, badlands, and petrified forest. I did this hike in early June of 2018 and it was HOT. There is virtually NO shade and no water sources, and it was nearly 100 degrees. Wear at hat, LOTS of sunscreen, LOTS of water. Also some parts of the trail are overgrown and a quick brush with the brush will result in several ticks on you, so I'd advise wearing tights or very thin long pants. There was also a huge herd of buffalo in our way so we had to descend off trail into a ravine to go around them. This isn't uncommon, so note that the hike may take longer than you think.

Fri Jun 01 2018

Nice trail. A couple of steep areas that were slick due to rain the night before went out and back approx 3 mi and took the left veer to petrified forest. Worth the hike. Amazing!

backpacking
Tue May 29 2018

It was a solid trail. We started about 3pm in the afternoon and made it almost the entire loop. Set up camp about 1 to 1.5 miles from where we parked (we started on north side so camped on south side). Most the hike is up on the perched high grassland. A lot of pronghorn and buffalo.

hiking
Mon May 21 2018

Good trial, lots to see! Overall lovely hike!

Load More