The Petrified Forest is a bit off the beaten path. It’s 120 miles and a 2 hour drive from Flagstaff and near the small town of Holbrook off of Interstate 40 (part of Route 66). The Petrified Forest Road runs right through the middle of the Park for 26 miles with numerous and easily identifiable stops. It’s hard to get good light as the park opens after sunrise and closes before sunset, but you just have to work with what you can.
Our second visit to the Petrified Forrest could not have been more opposite than our first time. Our first visit was hot, dry, and a bald sky. This time it was cold, windy, and we had beautiful clouds. Here is what we saw.
We started at the southern end of the Park at the Rainbow Forest Museum. The short walk at Rainbow Forest is really fun and you will see some of the best examples of the petrified wood. You could spend hours here, really. Close-up photography is a must here.
Also, check out the Blue Mesa and Loop Trail. There are many fine examples of the petrified trees and the loop trail gives you a great close up of the blue canyon walls.
Finally at the other end of the park is the Painted Desert with eight different pull outs/overlooks to make photos. Our favorite is Tiponi Point which is the last overlook and next to the Painted Desert Visitor’s Center.
And don’t miss the old car as you cross Highway 40/Route 66.
With the right kind of sky and weather, this park is spectacular. We’ll probably try again during monsoon season. Depending on weather and time of year, one full day in this park should do. If you want to do some of the longer hikes, then two days.
To view more images for the Petrified Forest National Park visit our Flickr site here
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