Petrified Forest National Park

Actually, this was a childhood dream when I first read about it as a kid.  A forest of stone trees.  Sounded as a kid as something that came out of an fantasy adventure story book.  Visiting it in real life is a little bit of an anti-climax, seeing the basically fossillized trees lying on their side.  Especially since it’s a little out of the way, on the east side of Arizona.  That aside, for $20, you get to see some of the most glorious examples of geology in the american countryside.  The Petrified Forest is mostly on the south side of the park.  A few car stops to see the fossillized trees.  Some with quartz crystals growing inside.  The north side of the park is as powerful visually (or in my opinion, more) where the it meets the rim of the Painted Desert.  The red desert stands out in contrast.  As you travel south, to the Petrified Tree stops, you see also the Blue Mesas and the stratified earth.  Think of it like Jurassic Park, but no living dinosaurs (except for the grandparents).

Painted Forest.  There are about 5 car stops to take pictures from the rim of the Painted Desert.  There is a trail (5mi roundtrip) from the adobe structure (whose name I forget) into the Painted Desert.

More Petroglyphs.  There is a view of the railroad passing by as well, from this stop.  If you want to see the petroglyphs, bring a 300mm telephoto lens.  Not kidding.

Blue Mesa.  Self-explanatory unless you’re blind.  You will see the first petrified logs at this stop.  Some of the poor logs lost to nature and some of them have broken up due to the elements here.  There is a trail to walk here as well.

Agate Bridge (upper-left), Crystal Forest.

(5/5 self-rated for tourists)

 

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