Results 11-20of 20 Reviews
by Asia Traveler
December 20, 2004
Visit http://www.nps.gov/pefo/ to plan your visit.
From journal Halfway across the US & all the way back (Part 1)
St. Louis, Missouri
September 1, 2003
One of the highlights of our trip to Flagstaff was the two-hour drive to visit the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. We headed west and got off I-40 onto U.S. 180. Our first great experience of the day was a stop in Holbrook at the Holbrook Flea Market. This is actually one shop that has a tremendous amount of petrified wood for sale out front! Private land owners collect it from their property and bring it in to sell. This is all perfectly legal. The illegal action is taking even a small rock off the grounds of the National Park. THAT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN! Anyway, this fantastic shop was run by a great fellow named Chuck Tabor and I invite you to look at the entry about that shopping experience in this journal.
At the entrance of the park, we began our self-guided tour. (Pamphlet available at the gate.) We saw amazing long logs made of rainbow colored rock. We learned about the fossils they find on a continual basis and we learned about the geological processes that brought these amazing logs of wood back to the surface. I have done an entire journal "Petrified Forest-Shadows from a Time Long Past" which contains significantly more information than I can include here.
Among the other things you will see here are pre-colonial Indian sites and petroglyphs. When you move to the north you'll see the magnificent Painted Desert! Brilliant bands of red, white, black and other colors make this one of the most beautiful places on earth!
All the brochures I read suggest 2-3 hours for the visit. That seems a bit rushed. If you stop at all 18 sites within the Park you will spend closer to 5-6 hours. There is really a lot to do and learn. In Feb. the Park opens at 8am and closes at 5pm. June-Aug. -- 6am-7pm Sept and May -- 7am-6pm. There is a 17 minute film in the Painted Desert Visitor's center that explains how wood in petrified. At the south gate shop, Crystal Forest Museum and Gift Shop, (928-524-3500) there is free overnight camping and free electricity with the purchase of $50 of merchandise. The cost for the park is $10 per car and $5 per persons on bus, bicycle, or foot. You simply can't be disappointed by this park, so send me an email after you visit and tell me what you liked the most!
From journal Flagstaff-There's Even More To Do Here!
August 30, 2003
Starting from the south as we did, the first opportunity to see petrified logs is a place called "Giant Logs" Guess what you see here? At this site will be the Rainbow Forest Museum which has a dinosaur on display as well as other displays about the park. There is also a bathroom at the facility! However, the star of the museum in out back. You are given a self guided tour brochure and shown the paved trail. It is about .4 miles long. Although the trail is not handicapped accessible, it is a fairly easy walk with a few stairs to climb. .The self guided tour suggested we spend at least 20 minutes at this site. So we did! The trail winds through some of the biggest trees in the park, including the biggest, "Old Faithful" whose diameter at the thickest point is 9 ft. Most of the logs at this stop and throughout the park are broken into pieces. Because the pieces all fit together and even the lines of petrification match, we know these trees were solid when they were transformed. The breakage is probably due to stress on the log as the uplift of the Colorado plateau happened. Petrified logs are made out of quartz which will fracture and break fairly easily when in long crystals. We talk about quartz like it is one substance, however, the silica which created the petrified logs is clear quartz only in its purest form. Jasper, agate, and chalcedony are also forms of quartz.
When you visit the petrified forest, you'll notice that clear quartz is very rare. Yellow, red, and brown colorings are due to iron oxides. Black is from carbon. Rarely blues and purples can be found as iron oxides and carbon combine in unusual proportions.
The next major stop for log viewing is the "Long Logs Trail". It is 1/2 mile and meanders through the longest logs in the park -- the longest being close to 150 feet. The next area will be "Crystal Forest Trail" about 3/4 a mile. At one time, several of the hollows in these logs contained amethyst crystals. "Jasper Forest" is another place you can overlook petrified logs strewn about. These places comprise the biggest concentrations of logs in the park. You will see logs individually at times, but don't expect to see them everywhere. They are mostly in the southern part of the park. Other areas in the park will be devoted to archeology or geological formations.
From journal Petrified Forest-Shadows of a Long Time Past!
As you read about petroglyphs you discover that scientists really aren't sure why they were made or for that matter how old they are. We can date the rock they're on or perhaps date the ruins they may be close to, but that doesn't really tell how old the drawings are. Nor do they completely understand what they mean. We know they took time to make, so the chances of these being random doodlings seems less likely, but they could be an ancient expression of art, or mark an animal trail, or a way to ask for blessings from the gods for a particular event. There is one exception. At least one of the glyphs is a solar calendar. At solstice and equinox, a shaft of light will creep across the rock face and move precisely through the center of a spiral drawing.
Petroglyphs are made possible by a dark layer called "desert varnish" that sometimes covers the rocks. This varnish is a combination of iron or manganese with bacteria and it grows harder and blacker with time. This dark "varnish" provides a contrast layer to the light colored rock below and allows the petroglyph to be carved into the rock. If you look real close, you can see individual chip marks still in the glyphs. This was not like drawing; it was more like sculpting with a hammer and pick. Perhaps that's why stick figures are more common.
For those that are interested, I will add that archeologists have categorized petroglyphs into six categories. They are anthropomorphs, geometrics, kachinas, hands/tracks, zoomorphs, and indeterminate. Anthropomorphs have something to do with the pictures of people. Geometrics are boxes, circles, spirals etc. Kachinas are usually heads/masks with features. Hands/tracks are simply a hand print or the representation of the tracks of some animal. Zoomorphs are pictures of animals. I counted about seven different animals, but I'm sure there are more. Indeterminate is a category for anything that just can't be put in any other category.
After Newspaper Rock, there is one other place where the petroglyphs can be seen. That is at the Puerco Pueblo ruins. You can get closer to them at this location and there is a bathroom available at this location.
May 4, 2003
From journal Great Circle from America's Midwest to Arid West
by A Duarte
March 16, 2003
I would recommend starting from the dessert side and catch it in the bright sunshine. It was becoming overcast by the time we reached the desert side and the colors didn't quite pop.
From journal Girl trip to AZ
by J&J Reid
November 9, 2002
From Winslow it is a fairly short distance to the park. The park itself consists of a 28-mile road that contains about a dozen stops where one can get out of the car and see the sights. The majority of the park contains the remains of petrified logs. It is quite a site to see. The desert landscape is littered with what appears to be knocked-over trees. It is only once you get close to one of them that you realize the trees have been turned to stone.
Some of our favourite sites in the park were the views of the Painted Desert and Newspaper Rock. Newspaper Rock contains a series of petroglyphs carved into the sides of giant boulders. Unfortunately, they are some distance away from the viewing platform so be sure to bring binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens to view them.
From journal A Week at Sheraton's Desert Oasis
San Jose, California
January 6, 2002
From journal Winter in Northern Arizona
December 29, 2000
If you plan to continue driving east on I-40 toward Albuquerque after leaving the park, I recommend that you use SR 180 and the South Entrance to the park, to avoid back-tracking back to Holbrook to get on I-40.
There is a park entry fee of $10 per car, unless you bought a $50 pass for unlimited use in all National Parks.
A single road (10-15 miles) goes through the park from SR 180 to I-40, there are several stopping points, overlooks, and a Visitors Center (recommended).
Along the way, there are easy trails that provide views of fossilized wood/trees that have slowly turned to stone over 200 Million years.
Do not remove any of the petrified wood from the park. The National Park Service is very serious about that.
There is a large gift shop that is next to an Information Center with lots a fossils, and even a couple of small dinosaur skeletons.
This is said to be one of the largest concentrations of Petrified Wood in the world.
There are more spectacular National Parks, but as I thought about the 200 million years it took to produce these fossils, I gained appreciation for the park.
From journal The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest
by Jim Rosenberg
October 6, 2000
From journal Grand Canyon/Southwest -- Find Value; Lose Crowds