Saturday, December 3, 2022


Petrified Forest National Park really “Rocks”

Owl Rock Member Chinle Formation Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area (NPS)

(Editor’s Note: Information update May 2016)

For RVing photographers, spring and autumn are the times to visit the Petrified Forest National Park. The temperatures are moderate and the sun is lower on the horizon, resulting in an amazing richness of color, texture and detail–especially in early morning and sunset hours.

Visitor Center (Julianne G. Crane)

We arrived in the early afternoon one autumn day and because there are no campground facilities at the park and no overnight parking is allowed; it was more of a ‘drive-thru’ adventure for us.

We pulled off I-40, northeast of Holbrook, Ariz.  into the parking lot outside the Painted Desert Visitor Center at the park’s North entrance around 2 p.m.

After watching the park’s orientation film, we took in the museum exhibits and learned that Petrified Forest National Park is a complex research, science area; and details like: “Petrified wood was so abundant when the ancestral Puebloan people were living in the area that they used it not only for stone tools but also as building material, such as the ‘brick’ used in the park’s Agate House.

Then we zipped off on the 28 mile-drive through the park. If we had had more time, we would have hiked further and reflected longer.

Painted Desert exhibit (Julianne G. Crane)

The park is open year round except Christmas, Dec. 25.
Hours vary slightly during the year (roughly daylight hours). Mountain Standard Time year-round.

Programs, Activities and Events

– A monthly calendar of events organized by Petrified Forest Museum Association is available by clicking here.

– In the fall-winter ‘off-season,’ staff at Painted Desert Inn and Rainbow Forest Museum are happy to offer short, customized talks or walks as staffing and time allows; simply ask at either location.

– Keep an eye out for roving rangers. As staffing allows, rangers rove park areas to include Puerco Pueblo, Crystal Forest, and Giant Logs.

– Free entry days on: National Public Lands Day, (Sept. 24, 2016) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2016).


Petrified Forest National Park is located in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona.
Area: 85,542 sq miles (221,552 km²).
North entrance (Visitor Center): off I-40, milepost 311. South entrance: off Highway 180

Petrified Forest National Park
1 Petrified Forest Rd,
Holbrook, AZ 86502
Phone: (928) 524-6228

As for camping:
“Outside the south entrance of the park, at the junction of the park road and Highway 180, two privately owned gift shops allow overnight parking in their parking lots,” according to the park’s website. For details on other private and public campgrounds in the region, click here.

We camped at the Homolovi Ruins State Park near Winslow, Ariz., about 60 miles west of the Petrified Forest National Park.

To read more by Julianne G. Crane, go to

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