Millions of years can do a lot to change a landscape. Mountain glaciers frozen for eons eventually heat up and melt and a river rushes forth. Mighty lakes evaporate and leave behind vast salt flats. Or, in the case of much of the American west, lush forest and diverse swampland slowly dies away and leaves behind only traces of its former self.
Thus is the story of Petrified Forest National Park. More than 220 million years ago, many thousands of immense trees toppled and crumbled into pieces, and for centuries the logs that remained soaked up chemicals that brewed in the waters below. Like magic, the fallen trees were filled with precious stone that hardened and shone. Fast forward to present day, and what we’re left with is vast desert, scattered with logs like colorful stone. This is the wonder of Petrified Forest National Park.
A forest of jewels and dinosaurs
Unlike many of America’s great national parks, hiking is at a premium at Petrified Forest National Park. Located in northeast Arizona on more than 200,000 acres of Navajo and Apache Counties, Petrified Forest National Park is a wonderland more of marvelous scenery than daring adventure. Numerous exhibits are on display in the barren wasteland, including Agate Forest, Giant Forest and Crystal Forest, the last containing trees that house precious clear quartz and purple amethyst.
Other natural wonders in Petrified Forest cannot be reached by foot, but rather observed from afar. Visitors can stand back and marvel at the likes of immense Blue Mesa, Jasper Forest and the dazzling colored moonscape of The Painted Desert. When you visit Petrified Forest National Park, prepare for spectacle and awe as you contemplate Mother Nature’s unceasing dedication to beauty and the unthinkable. This is truly one of America’s most remarkably preserved landscapes!