There are no campgrounds in Petrified Forest National Park. Only wilderness backpack camping is allowed. A free permit is required and can be obtained at Painted Desert Visitor Center, Painted Desert Inn or Rainbow Forest Museum. You should obtain your permit at least one hour before the park closes. There are picnic areas at Chinde Point and at Rainbow Forest.
Area campground information can be obtained from these local communities:
Joseph City, AZ
St. Johns, AZ
Show Low, AZ
For those who wish to see the park by extended hiking, backpack camping is permitted within the wilderness area. Desert hiking requires taking precautions and carrying plenty of water, but offers the opportunity to see park features seldom seen by other visitors. Because of the slow rates of decomposition and growth in the desert and the fragile nature of the desert environment, minimum impact camping is very important.
Group size is limited to 15 persons. There are no signs or trails in the wilderness area. Be sure to carry appropriate topographical maps. By leaving no sign of your campsite and leaving no trash you can insure protection of wilderness values for future hikers and campers. Fires are not allowed, but you may use a fuel stove for cooking. Overnight campers must have a wilderness permit. Vehicles must be parked at Kachina Point, which is the entrance to the wilderness area.
The Painted Desert Wilderness consists of 43,020 acres of colorful mesas, buttes, and badlands with scattered areas of grasslands. Significant features include the Black Forest (petrified wood deposits) Chinde Mesa, and Pilot Rock. Parking for the trailhead is at the Painted Desert Inn parking area, located at Kachina Point. You must hike into the wilderness area (north of the Lithodendron Wash) to camp.
Yellow Emergency Phones are located at Puerco Pueblo, Blue Mesa and Crystal Forest to report medical emergencies, car trouble and theft or destruction of park resources.
If at all possible, don't hike alone.
Topographical maps are available for purchase at Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum.
Telephones are available near the entrance to the visitor center and museum.
First aid and emergency services are available at the visitor center, museum and from any park ranger
Heat Exhaustion is characterized by pale, cool and damp skin. Remove the person from direct sun, loosen restrictive clothing, and provide cool liquids.
Heat Stroke is characterized by hot, dry, red skin. This is a true emergency. Get the person out of the sun and immediately begin cooling the person's body with damp clothes and fanning. Get help.
Thunderstorms can cause flash flooding which can quickly fill sandy washes. Check the weather forecast before starting your hike and do not camp in low lying areas or washes if rain is a possibility.
Don't over extend yourself; clear desert air can make distant points seem closer.
Do not approach, feed or touch wildlife - they may carry diseases.
There is a good chance that you will NOT encounter any of the park's poisonous animals. However shaking out clothing will help avoid scorpions, spiders, and centipedes. Avoid placing hands and feet out of sight on ledges, in rock piles, or animal burrows. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake remain calm and immobilize the bitten limb/body area below the level of the heart. Get help.
Collection of plants, fossils, petrified wood, archeological material or other objects is strictly prohibited.
Day hiking is permitted in the park, but overnight camping is permitted only within the designated wilderness unit.
Motorized travel is permitted only on paved park roads. Stopping/parking is permitted only at paved pullouts and parking areas. Overnight wilderness campers park only at Kachina Point.
Access to wilderness area is allowed only by foot or horseback. Permits are required for overnight use.
Apply for your wilderness permit in time to arrive at your campsite by parking closing. Permits stop being issued one hour before the park closes.
The use or possession of firearms is prohibited in all areas of the park including the wilderness areas.
Groups using the wilderness areas overnight are restricted to 15 persons.
Horseback riding and pack animals are permitted in the wilderness, but overnight users are limited to six animals. All feed for animals must be packed in.
Campfires are prohibited; use of fuel stoves for cooking is recommended.
All litter and refuse must be packed out.
Bury human waste a minimum of six inches in the soil.
All day hikers must be back in their vehicles driving towards one of the park exists by the posted park closing time.
Activities & Calendar
Address, Email & Phone
Brochure, Maps, Written Info
Jobs, SCA, Volunteer Positions
Size & Visitation
Copyright © 1995 - 2007 Hillclimb Media
This site is in no way associated with the United States Government, the Department of the Interior or the National Park Service