About Petrified Forest
Arizona's Petrified Forest became a National Park on December 9, 1962. It preserves 93,533 acres of desert terrain holding a remarkable, colorful concentration of petrified wood. A significant portion of the park also preserves an area of the Painted Deseret, a barren and rough terrain of colored dirt and rock and sparse vegetation. In 1999, the park received 666,978 visitors.
The trees grew in an ancient period in geologic history, called the Triassic, and were of the species named Araucariaxylon arizonicum. After falling, they were deposited by floods and covered with layers of sand and clay. The upper layers of sediment have been eroded away over time, exposing the now petrified trees. Some of them are as large as 100 feet by 6 feet in diameter.
The park exists primarily because of its value to geologic history; to prevent the wood from being collected and sold for its monetary value and thereby destroying a valuable window on the ancient world. Because of this the park is open only during daylight hours. Petrified Wood mined from areas surrounding the park is available at shops around the park.
Visitors to the park feel an ancient atmosphere in the landscape exotic in it's almost alien barrenness and quietness.
Three trails provide views of the major deposits of petrified wood, the Long Logs Trail, the Giant Logs Trail and the Crystal Forest.