Saturday, January 03, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

I have passed by this national park at least 20 times in my life and have never entered. Since we have the national parks pass, so we don't have to pay to get in and had some time to kill we decided to check it out today.

When we got to the park and went into the visitor center we found out that the best way to see the park when traveling east on I-40 is to go through Holbrook and take Route 180 to the south entrance of the park. Then drive north through the park and continue east on I-40. Since we didn’t know that and entered the park from the north we drove twice through the park.

Petrified Forest National Park is located east of Holbrook, AZ

The Petrified Forest National Park has one of the world's largest collections of petrified wood and the most colorful too. At the visitor center we learned that over the years a lot of the petrified wood has been stolen from the park by visitors.

The roads through the park are straight, but there are a few very short twisty sections

Painted desert in the north of the park

We tried to stop at every scenic overlook and at every attraction the park, but it seemed like a lot of it was the same stuff. The Painted Desert looked absolutely the same from each scenic overlook and even though there is petrified wood scattered all over the park. There was more of it at the south end of the park.

Posing with petrified wood

Newspaper Rock was kind of disappointing, from this overlook you could barely make out the Petroglyphs way down below

The Newspaper Rock and Petroglyphs just outside of Canyonlands National Park in The Needles District is amazing because you can walk up to it and touch it.

Petroglyphs on the lower portion of the rock to the far left and far right

Petrified wood scattered about

Petrified wood scattered about as far as the eye could see

We actually would have wanted to do the small hikes to the attractions but it was very windy and cold today and we just didn’t have the time to see it all. Half way through the park we decided to skip the rest of the stops and head to the south of the park and check out Giant Logs. Petrified wood is really beautiful but after you’ve seen so many pieces they all start to look the same.

People standing on a hill at Giant Logs

Walking through the Giant Logs exhibit

No, that’s not a ninja - it’s Mike all bundled up taking pictures

A petrified log

Having some fun with petrified wood

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