Get a Dose of Ancient History at Petrified Forest National Park
If you love fossils, ancient civilizations and stunning views, Petrified Forest National Park is for you. While its name implies that you’ll be greeted by a bunch of really old trees, the park has much more to offer.
More than 13,000 years of human history are represented in the park, including prehistoric civilizations, explorers, Route 66 travelers and more. See hundreds of petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock or walk through the 100-room pueblo ruins at Puerco Pueblo, which was home to about 200 people in the 14th century.
You can also check out fossilized dinosaur remains and, of course, the petrified wood the park is named for. The plant and animal fossils in the park are from the Triassic period, dating back more than 200 million years.
In addition to being a popular tourist attraction, the forest is a hotspot for scientific research. Archaeologists, ecologists and paleontologists gather in the park to study the ancient peoples, fossils and current wildlife.
There are a number of museums and visitor centers throughout the park that showcase various artifacts from the park’s rich history. If you’re interested in exploring more, numerous backcountry hikes will take you to lesser-known places and incredible views. You can also book a backpacking trip and spend the night in the ancient landscape. Be warned: it is illegal to remove rocks or other materials from the park.
Petrified Forest National Park is located in Northeastern Arizona, about 50 miles from the New Mexico border along Interstate 40. Learn more about the Petrified Forest National Park and plan your visit here.