|Petrified Forest is a surprising land of scenic wonders and fascinating
science. The park is located in northeast Arizona and features one of the world's largest
and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. Also included in the park's 93,533
acres are the multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, archeological sites and displays
of 225 million year old fossils.
About one half of the visitation occurs during June, July and August. The visitation for
1996 was 829,615. LOCATION:
The park is located in northeastern Arizona about 2 hours east of Flagstaff, Arizona and
about 1 hour west of Gallup, New Mexico.
Petrified Forest National Park,
P.O. Box 2217
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028
OPERATING HOURS, SEASONS:
The park is open year round except Christmas and New Year's Day. Park hours are from 7:30
a.m. to 5 p.m., with longer hours during the summer. Hours may change, so please call
before your arrival.
Note: Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
CLIMATE, RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
Summers are generally hot with temperatures in the 90's and occasionally in the low 100's.
In winter the highs in the 40's or 50's, or much colder with highs only in the 20's.
Annual rainfall is 9 to 10 inches with 40% occurring as thunder storms in the late summer.
There is occasional snow in the winter. High winds can happen any time of year. Humidity
is usually low.
Petrified Forest stretches between Interstate 40 and U.S. 180. Visitors traveling west on
Interstate 40 should exit at milepost # 311, drive through the park and connect with U.S.
180 at the south end. Visitors can then take U.S. 180 west to Holbrook and continue west
on Interstate 40. East bound visitors can exit Interstate 40 at Holbrook and take U.S. 180
east to the park, drive north through the park, and return to Interstate 40.
Travel through the park is by private vehicle or commercial tour only.
FEES, COSTS, RATES:
The entrance fee is $10 per private vehicle and $5 for walk-ins and bicyclists. Golden
Eagle Passports are $50 and allow 12 months free entrance to national park areas,
nationwide. Golden Age Passports are $10 and are a life-time pass for American citizens,
62 years and over. Golden Access Passports are free for Americans with a permanent
disability who are eligible for federal aid. Commercial tour operators need to contact the
park for information since fees vary.
FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
North Entrance (Interstate 40):
The Painted Desert Visitor Center provides information, shows the park's orientation film,
and sells books, postcards, posters, maps, slides and videos. A U.S. Post Office is
located adjacent to the visitor center
Painted Desert Oasis, next to the visitor center, has a gift store, cafe and a gas
station/travel store. Telephone: (520) 524-3756. Address: Painted Desert Oasis P.O. Box
2247 Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028
Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark is two miles for the north entrance. It
has historically served as a trading post, an inn and restaurant. Today it is a museum
with exhibits and book sales. At various times Native American artisans demonstrate crafts
such as rug weaving and silver smithing. Call the park for more information.
South Entrance (U. S. 180)
Rainbow Forest Museum has exhibits of early reptiles, dinosaurs, petrified wood and a book
Rainbow Forest Store has a gift shop and snack bar/soda fountain.
Telephone: (520) 524-3138
Ranger talks and tours are scheduled mostly during the summer months. With advanced notice
the park has several programs for school groups. Call for additional information.
Lodging and Camping Facilities:
There are no campgrounds or lodging facilities in the park but they are available in
nearby communities. Overnight backpacking is allowed in the Painted Desert wilderness. A
permit is required and can be obtained for free at the visitor center or museum.
At the north end of the park is the Cougar Cafe and the a gas station that features a
travel store. The Rainbow Forest Store, at the south end of the park, has packaged foods
and a soda fountain.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
Activities include driving, sight-seeing, photography, walking, hiking and wilderness
backpacking. A variety of interpretive programs are given, mostly in the summer. A list of
programs is displayed in the visitor center and museums.
A free permit must be obtained for overnight wilderness camping. Permits are available at
the Painted Desert Visitor Center or the Rainbow Forest Museum. Commercial photography
requires a permit and it must be obtained well in advance or your visit.
BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
Driving non-stop, through the park, take 45 minutes. The average length of stay is 2 hours
but remaining all day is also common. The park is locked a night and visitors must be in
their cars and driving towards an exit at closing time.
March -- Archeology Month
Summer Solstice -- Watch an ancient solar calendar at work. Programs are presented at
Puerco Pueblo for a 2 week period around June 21, at 8:30 am.
The park will close when the road is unsafe due to snow or ice.
Note: The removal of petrified wood or other features of the park is prohibited by law.
Gift shops sell petrified wood that comes from private land, outside the park. No
petrified wood is removed legally from the park.