Great hike to one of the petrified forests in the park. It is a less traveled area with a high chance of seeing wildlife.

Make sure you swing by the Visitor's Center to get a map and a paper copy of directions to the trailhead as it goes through private property.

The trail starts at the parking lot and heads into a wilderness area. After a few hundred feet you will pass through a gate. Make sure to sign the booklet into the wilderness area.

After .5 mi and 100 feet of elevation gain, you will rise up to a plateau and see a fork in the trail. A right will take you to the South Petrified Forest and a left takes you to the North Petrified Forest. Take the trail left. After approximately .5 mi, the trail will dip down into a little valley and the North Petrified Forest starts on the far side of the valley. 

For a more strenuous hike, you can hike the Petrified Forest Loop (10.3 mi), or you can turn around and head back to the trailhead. 

You have a high chance of seeing bison and other wildlife on this trail, including rattlesnakes. Ensure to check the weather before this hike as the drive and trail are clay. 

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Water
  • Rain Jacket
  • Good Shoes/Boots
  • Sunscreen
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RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 400 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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