Top 10 Things to do Good for Big Groups in Petrified Forest National Park, Petrified Forest National Park

January 14, 2022 Terina Blouin

Located in northeast Arizona, this park features one of the world's largest and most colorful arrays of petrified wood.

1. Painted Desert

1 Park Rd, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028-9997 (928) 524-6228 https://www.nps.gov/pefo/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2,449 reviews

Painted Desert

This desert is famous for its striking bands of colors.

Reviewed By Chuck2010 - Palmyra, United States

We entered the park off I-40 beyond Holbrook, AZ ... The park road just beyond Blue Mesa is closed due to construction. You can see the first 16 miles before needing to turn around and head back. Seeing the park from north to south gives you the painted desert viewpoints, the historic painted desert inn, route 66 site, pueblo dwellings, newspaper rock, blue mesa, and petrified logs ... nice variety and all great to see!

2. Rainbow Forest

Petrified Forest National Park, AZ +1 928-524-3138 http://www.go-arizona.com/Rainbow-Forest-Museum-Visitor-Center
Excellent
61%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 275 reviews

Rainbow Forest

An area in the south side of the Petrified Forest National Park.

Reviewed By CWGross - Calgary, Canada

The Rainbow Forest isn't a specific PLACE in Petrified Forest National Park. It is the southernmost region of the park where you find most of the petrified wood deposits. The northernmost region, by contrast, is the Painted Desert. The Rainbow Forest is most accessible through the Giant Logs trail behind the Rainbow Forest Museum and the nearby Long Logs trail. If you are coming to Petrified Forest specifically to see the petrified wood deposits, then this is the section you want to give the most time to. We actually started at the north gate, at the Painted Desert, and ended up feeling a bit rushed by the time we finally got down to the Rainbow Forest, which I regret. When we go back (I've already decided it's a WHEN, not an IF!), we're going to focus on just the Rainbow Forest. You get a neat effect going north to south, because the petrified wood deposits get bigger and more voluminous as you go, climaxing in the Rainbow Forest, but if you do that make sure you give yourself a full day. By the time we got to the park and had lunch, we didn't actually get IN the park until noon. The Long Logs trail closed at 5:30, the museum closed at 5 or 6, and the park road closed at 7, and that sneaks up on you sooner that you expect. If you're undecided about Petrified Forest, DO IT. It's not a scenically dramatic park like Grand Canyon, Zion, Yosemite, etc. What is most fascinating about Petrified Forest, and the Rainbow Forest in particular, is what you find there: endless fields of massive 225 million year old logs, dating back to the primordial swamps in which dinosaurs were just small newcomers. It's one of the most famous palaeontological sites in the WORLD, let alone the United States. If you're making your way out to Northern Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater and all that, you owe it to yourself to see Petrified Forest too.

3. Devil's Playground

Southwest portion of the Petrified Forest Wilderness, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
Excellent
64%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 33 reviews

Devil's Playground

Eroded area of the Painted Desert where colors are brilliant.

Reviewed By KatWat39 - Canton, United States

Love this colorful rocky landscape that nature created. Everywhere you look is just a little different. If you are a nature lover, take a few minutes to absorb just how wonderful the view is.

4. Black Forest

Petrified Forest National Park, AZ http://arizona.com
Excellent
71%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
7%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 28 reviews

Black Forest

Forest of darkly-colored petrified wood.

5. Blue Mesa

15.2 Miles North of Rainbow Forest Museum, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ +1 928-524-6228 http://www.nps.gov/pefo
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 285 reviews

Blue Mesa

Reviewed By Craig-World-Travelle - Agoura Hills, United States

Amazing views of these blue badlands from both lookouts and also from the hike. The hike is a bit steep for 1/4 mile but the trail is great - asphalt. If you can do the 1 mile loop hike it is really worth it as you get up close to the hills and a different perspective. The lookouts from up top are also beautiful and just a few steps from the parking lots. Best place for photos. A must see when you visit the National Park.

6. Puerco Pueblo

20,4 Miles North of Rainbow Forest Museum, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ http://www.nps.gov/pefo
Excellent
40%
Good
47%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 94 reviews

Puerco Pueblo

Reviewed By Craig-World-Travelle - Agoura Hills, United States

Short 1/3 of a mile loop trail to see 3-4 sets of petroglyphs and Indian ruins. Trail is in great shape. Restrooms at this stop as well.

7. Giant Logs Loop

Behind Rainbow Forest Museum, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ +1 928-524-6228 http://www.nps.gov/pefo
Excellent
72%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 166 reviews

Giant Logs Loop

Reviewed By snpkelley - Uniontown, United States

This is a nice short trail with lots of wood and you can get up close and look at it. This was one of our favorite parts of the petrified national forest.

8. Crystal Forest Trail

Near Petrified Forest National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ +1 928-524-6228 http://www.nps.gov/pefo/planyourvisit
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 276 reviews

Crystal Forest Trail

Reviewed By 581colleenc - Troy, United States

This trail is in the southern end of the Petrified Forest. The trail is a loop that is just under a mile in distance total. The trail is paved, easy walk and the best way to see an abundant amount of the mineralized trees. All the trees are sooo different take the time to look at the different colors represented. Plenty of parking available.

9. Agate House

Near Rainbow Forest Museum, South Entrance of Petrified Forest NP, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ http://www.nps.gov/pefo/historyculture/agate-house.htm
Excellent
47%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

Agate House

Reviewed By dblmed - Los Angeles, United States

Seeing the Ancient Petrified Agate Pueblo is for history buffs, Nature enthusiasts, hikers & curiosity seakers - not for the general Tourists or those with small children - it’s a 2 mile round trip in the hot desert. But, for those who do venture there, the Ancient Petrified Agate Pueblo is a Native American ruin of repurposed petrified wood used to construct the Adobe dwelling - quite unique! Enjoy!

10. Painted Desert Visitor Center

Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028 +1 928-524-6228 http://www.nps.gov/pefo/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm
Excellent
55%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 124 reviews

Painted Desert Visitor Center

Reviewed By JustDriving71 - Fort Myers, United States

There are only restrooms at the visitors centers and it is a long drive through the park so be sure to stop here. There is a nice gift shop and some interesting historical features and items to help you learn about this wonderful park.

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