If you ever find yourself traveling Interstate 40 in eastern Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park is a place you should not skip! It’s easy enough to make a brief stop in the north end of the park. There is a visitor center and some amazing overlooks for the Painted Desert. However, if that’s all you do, you are really missing out!
You really can’t go wrong no matter which end of the park you start in. Although, if at all possible, we would recommend reserving an entire day to see it all. The drive from one end to the other is 28 miles long. We just happened to start at the south end since we were staying 90 minutes south in an Arizona State Park. Our favorite spots were the Giant Logs trail, Blue Mesa, and either Tawa or Kachina Point for the views of the Painted Desert. Click below for our adventures in Petrified Forest National Park:
More Than A Petrified Forest
Did you ever make sand art in a bottle as a kid? It almost looks like someone dumped out trillions of them. As far as the eye can see. Reds, oranges, and yellows in the north end of the park and blues, greens, and whites in the south. We found Blue Mesa to be especially unique in that regard since you can find red/orange badlands elsewhere. However, we have never seen the abundance of blue and even purple soil layers before in all of our travels to this point.
In all fairness, petrified wood really isn’t all that rare. There are lots of places where you can find it. However, there really is a reason why this National Park is named after it. The intricate details in the wood here, the size of logs left intact, and the sheer number of them is truly impressive.
Where to Stay
The park itself doesn’t actually have any campgrounds. Holbrook is the closest town with hotels and RV parks. We were staying at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area which made for an hour and a half drive each way. It wasn’t close by any means, but we do highly recommend that campground! Like always, Campendium is a great resource.
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If you’d like to read about our RV and other RV adventures, then check out some of our other posts :
- Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
- Cathedral Gorge State Park
- RV Solar System Lessons Learned
- The Ghost Town of Rhyolite, Nevada
- Bonneville Salt Flats & Lemoille Canyon
- Buckhorn Wash | Pictographs and Canyons
- The Wedge + Little Grand Canyon
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