Petrified Forest


  • The excellent NPS website
  • Petrified Forest NP has 2 distinct sections – “the Petrified Forest section” and “the Painted Desert Badlands section”. The former is great, the later is blah if you have seen Death Valley or Monument Valley. The “Petrified Forest section” is the area of the park between the south entrance and Highway 40. The “Painted Desert badlands section” of the park is the area between Highway 40 and the North Entrance.
  • 1 day is enough to see the whole park. I recommend entering from the South Entrance in the morning and making your way toward the North Entrance. There is no food in the park, so bring your own. The Painted Desert looks its best around sunset, and by going South-to-North, no biggie if you’re late and don;t get to see the Painted Desert – which is not too great anyway.
  • Petrifed Wood is wood that has turned into rock. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue.
  • During the Late Triassic period (about 225 million years ago), downed trees accumulating in river channels in what became the park were buried periodically by sediment containing volcanic ash. Groundwater dissolved silica (silicon dioxide) from the ash and carried it into the logs, where it formed quartz crystals that gradually replaced the organic matter. Traces of iron oxide and other substances combined with the silica to create varied colors in the petrified wood.
  • Beginning about 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau, of which the park is part, was pushed upward by tectonic forces and exposed to increased erosion, resulting in the petrfied logs being visible the way they are today.
  • Petrified wood is found in several countries around the world. Apart from Petrified Forest NP, major sites in the US are in South Dakota and California.
  • Artificial petrified wood has been produced in a Washington laboratory. In the process small cubes of pine are soaked in an acid bath for two days, then in a silica solution for another two. The product is then cooked at 1400 °C in an argon atmosphere for two hours. The result was silicon carbide ceramic which preserved the intricate cell structure of the wood.

To-dos for next time

  • Crystal Forest
  • Agate Bridge

Petrified Forest National Park

Pictures taken with a Canon T3I with 18-55 and 55-250 kit lenses