Anywhere you turn here in the Petrified Forest you will be treated to sights of exciting and extraordinary petrified trees. Due to the unique geologic forces that have been at work here in Arizona over the last 225 million years the petrified trees on display here are stunningly beautiful and rich in color. They also allow us to get a glimpse into the forms of life that inhabited this region at the height of the Late Triassic Period.
There are many beautiful areas of the Petrified Forest in Arizona to see and explore. Unfortunately some of the places that once held the highest number of beautiful examples of petrified wood no longer do. At the turn of the century and earlier these areas were raided by prospectors and others who would come to the Petrified Forest to take out petrified wood and logs by the truckload to sell. Gorgeous areas such as Blue Mesa, Jasper Forest and Crystal Forest, while still having many extraordinary examples of the beautiful petrified wood to be found here are nothing compared to their former glory. It was this incredible amount of theft, in fact, that provided the impetus for residents of the area to fight to have the Petrified Forest protected by the federal government.
Perhaps the best way to experience the beauty of the Petrified Forest in Arizona is on foot. Hiking inside the limits of the park is restricted to developed paths and trails, as walking outside of these boundaries can damage the fragile life and geology of the area. Thankfully the National Park Service provides a number of excellent hikes throughout this beautiful area, stretching from brief 0.3 mile jaunts to 3 mile hikes.
One of the more interesting hiking trails on display here in the Petrified Forest is the Puerco Pueblo Trail. This short walk gives you a chance to walk through an ancient pueblo that was first occupied well over a millennium ago. This fascinating 100 room pueblo gives us a look at the lives of an ancient culture that once populated this area. Petroglyphs on the wall are just one of the many mysteries showcased here.
If you are looking to go hiking through the gorgeous displays of petrified wood and logs in the park, take the combined Long Logs and Agate House round trip excursion. These two trails lead you through stretches of the park that hold the highest density of petrified logs in all their brilliant beauty. The Agate House is one of the true highlights of the Petrified Forest. A pueblo built some 700 years ago out of petrified wood, it is a fascinating and beautiful sight to behold.
The Petrified Forest in Arizona is a beautiful example of the unique treasures that the desert has in store for us. If you are considering a trip to the Petrified Forest you will also be happy to know that the park is also adjacent to the Painted Desert. Combine two trips in one and see some of the most remarkable beauty that any desert in the world has to offer.