When you visit Petrified Forest for more time than the average visitor, which is only a few hours, you can really see what this park has to offer beyond the overlooks and visitor centers (which are also amazing).

The largest gathering of petrified wood in North America lies here, conveniently on the way to the Grand Canyon for most folks. But besides this gorgeous crystalized wood, Petrified Forest offers amazing hiking, backpacking, free ranger programs, and loads of history in its small package.

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Must-Do Activities:

  • Visit the Painted Desert Visitor Center, the Rainbow Forest Museum, and the Painted Desert Inn
  • Take a ranger-led tour; we loved the historic tour of the Inn!
  • Drive the scenic drive to the Rainbow Forest Museum and stop at the overlooks
  • Stop and take a “backcountry” hike; we especially loved exploring the Jasper Forest and Blue Mesa areas

Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures:

  • Get a free backcountry permit and camp overnight in the Painted Desert
  • Go on multiple off-the-beaten-path hikes: pick up free maps at the visiter center

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