At a glance, the Petrified Forest may not seem very appealing nor interesting as it only features stone log fragments scattered over a portion of the Arizona desert. However, later on, as you walk to take a look at the area and let your senses take in the surroundings, you will definitely appreciate this place.
The Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. The park got its name from the large deposits of petrified wood of which it is very abundant in. It is definitely the best place to see petrified wood in a beautiful range of bright colors. While there, you will also get to see the a section of the popular Painted Desert.
More than 200 million years ago, large trees and rich vegetation were abundant in the Northeast area of Arizona. At that time, the region was a tropical wetland with streams and rivers that would overflow during rainy days and would sweep fallen trees into the sandy floodplains. Later, volcanic lava destroyed the forest, and the remains were embedded into sediment comprised of volcanic ash, mud, and water. Trees are transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization.
The Petrified Forest is mainly popular because of its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic period, more than 200 million years ago. On the northern area, where you see the Painted Desert, the surroundings are mostly empty grasslands, and the closest town is Holbrook. You will also get to see the Onyx Bridge, a 40-foot tree which partially collapsed a few years ago. On the southern area, a popular feature is the Puerco Pueblo, originally a collection of 76 rooms and a kiva, a ceremonial structure. You may also get to see thw Newspaper Rock, a sandstone outcrop with hundreds of petroglyphs on it, dating from around 1000-1300 AD.
Do visit this place and spend some time looking at the fossils. Camping, so far, is not allowed but you can stay at nearby hotels. Do take some photos and share your experience with us!