Painted Desert Unit
From here you can step into the desert silence
preserved in the Painted Desert Unit of Petrified Forest
National Park's Wilderness Area. The steep, rocky trail
descends to the floor of the Painted Desert where you
may wander among multi-colored badlands and
deposits of the unusually dark petrified wood of the
"Black Forest." Whether you visit on a day-hike or an
overnight camping trip, you must be prepared.
Hikers will find little shade and no water. Bring
protection from the sun and carry at least one gallon of
water per person per day. Always begin your return
trip before you have consumed half your water supply.
Wilderness hiking is cross-country without developed
trails. Use landmarks for direction. Sturdy shoes make
hiking in sand and loose clay more comvortable.
Minimize your impact. Leave little trace of your
passing so others may share a sense of discovery
in this fragile nvironment.
The Painted Desert Unit of Petrified Forest National
Wilderness Area encompasses 43,020 acres (17,410 hectares)
of badlands. Campsites must be within the shaded area
Proper clothing, adequate water and food,
and common sense should ehlp you avoid
problems of exposure and dehydration.
To ensure the protection of park resources
and wilderness values, please obey these
backcountry regulations for hikers and
- Free Backcountry Use Permits (avaliable
in both visitor centers) are required for
- No campfires or charcoal. Gas stoves are
- Weapons, pets, and vehicles are
prohibited in wilderness areas.
-Maximum group size is fifteen persons.
-Horseback riders must carry all food for
-Leave a clean campsite. Pack out all
-Removal of petrified wood or disturbance
of archaeological sites is strictly prohibited.
Please report any discovery of fossils (other
than wood) or cultural artifacts to a park