All major facilities, including concessions are accessible. Portions of some trails are accessible (Giant Logs, Puerco Pueblo).
I recommend that you plan your trip and the areas you would like to see and then go and relax and make a day of it. Go and see all that is in the area and enjoy it. You spend more quality time and learn and see more than you could ever imagine.
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.
There are no campgrounds 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.
See the Camping Page for more information.
Throughout history, people have had to contend with a variety of diseases all over the world. Petrified Forest National Park and the rest of America's national park areas are no different. It is in the interest of your personal safety not to approach, touch, feed, or harass the wildlife. Rodents, rabbits, raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, coyotes, dogs, and cats are known sources of human infection. For the plague, fleas transmit the disease from animal carriers to people and their pets. Contaminated rodent urine and feces spread Hantavirus, which is breathed by other animals and humans. Bites and scratches from infected animals transmit rabies from animals to people and domestic pets.
Symptoms in humans:
Plague: most people become ill 2 to 7 days after being infected with plague bacteria. Typical symptoms include sudden onset of fever, shaking chills, headache, muscle pains and weakness. Buboes (tender and extremely swollen lymph nodes) often develop and are characteristic of the disease. Buboes usually appear in the groin, armpits or neck regions. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also common.
Hantavirus: Symptoms usually appears within 2 weeks of the infection, but can appear as early as 3 days to as late as 6 weeks. These symptoms include flu-like fever; headaches; abdominal, joint and lower back pain; sometimes nausea and vomiting; and difficulty breathing due to fluid buildup in the lungs.
Rabies: After an incubation period typically of one to three months symptoms include pain, followed by tingling at the site of the animal bite; sensitive skin. Up to 10 days after the above symptoms appear: drooling, inability to swallow liquids; rage, alternating with periods of calm; convulsions, paralysis.
|Individual Entry (Bike, Foot)||$ 5.00 (Seven Day Pass)|
|Private Non-commercial Vehicle||$ 10.00 (Seven Day Pass)|
|Private Non-commercial Vehicle||$ 20.00 (Annual)|
|Gold Access Passport
(Blind or permanently disabled individuals)*
|Free (Lifetime - good in all national parks)|
|Golden Age Passport
(one time fee - for those 62+ years young)*
|$ 10.00 (Lifetime - good in all national parks)|
|Golden Eagle Passport (good one year from date of purchase)||$ 50.00 (good in all national parks)|
* American Citizens Only.
Golden Access Passport
The Golden Access Passport is a free pass available to all permanent U.S. residents who are eligible to receive federal benefits based on disability, whether or not you are actually receiving them or not. This pass entitles the bearer, and immediate family or accompanying passengers in a private vehicle, to free admission to all U.S. National Parks, Monuments, Forests, and Historic Sites, as well as half price camping. Apply in person at any National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service area.
At the north end of the park is the Cougar Cafe and a gas station that features a travel store. The Rainbow Forest Curio Shop, at the south end of the park, has packaged foods and a snack bar.
Petrified Forest National Park backcountry includes 50,260 acres of established wilderness. Day hikes are the most popular way to explore the backcountry. Many features can be reached in one day trip, most lying within a few miles of the park road. There are no developed trails in Petrified Forest wilderness, so most hiking is cross country style. Clear air, a lack of heavy vegetation, and a variety of landmarks combine to make conditions excellent for this type of hike. Since water and shade are not available, hikers should carry their own. A wide brimmed hat and long sleeve shirt will provide good sun protection.
A gallon of water per person per day is recommended in summer months. Good sturdy shoes will make hiking in the park's loose sand and loose clay more comfortable. Topographic maps and more detailed information are recommended for hikers planning extended trips. Just park in any designated pullout in the park and you can be on your way to a deeper understanding of Petrified Forest. The entire park boundary is fenced and most of the surrounding land is privately owned. Please get permission from landowners before hiking on their lands.
See the Hiking Page for more detailed information. Also, see the Camping Page for backpack camping information.
There are no lodging facilities or campgrounds in the park but they are available in nearby communities.
See the Lodging Page and Camping Page for more information.
Pets: Leaving your pet in a parked car can be a deadly mistake. On a warm day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows. Breathing this hot air, your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke.
Signs of heat stress are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, dizziness, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue.
If your pet gets overheated, you must lower its body temperature immediately by:
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.
See the Camping or Hiking Pages for more information.
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.
See the Activity Page for more information.
High Elevations: Visitors unaccustomed to high elevations may experience mild symptoms of high altitude sickness. These include nausea, dizziness, headache, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath. Minimize these effects by increasing fluid intake, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, eating lightly and frequently and getting plenty of rest. Ultraviolet radiation is also a threat at high elevations. Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet protection, a hat, long-sleeved garments, and use sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Keep Wildlife Wild: Never feed wildlife. By luring wildlife into traffic areas they are frequently hit by cars. Wildlife can become dependent on human food, and even lose the ability to hunt. Wildlife carry diseases such as rabies, hantavirus or bubonic plague that can be transmitted to humans. Photograph all wildlife from the safety of your vehicle or from the roadside. Observe wildlife quietly; approaching them frightens them away.
Watch Your Step: Many accidents happen when people fall by stepping off trails or roadsides, or by venturing onto steep slopes. Stay on designated trails and don't go beyond protective fencing or guardrails. Supervise children closely in such areas.
Lightening: Afternoon thunder and lightning storms are frequent during summer. Thunder, darkening clouds and changes in wind velocity and direction are indicators of an approaching storm. Avoid high observation areas, open areas, and rocky overhangs during thunderstorms. If you are caught in the open, squat with your hands on your knees, keep your head low, and wait for the storm to pass.
Hiking and Backcountry Travel: Be prepared for all types of weather. Unforeseen conditions can change a short hike into an unpleasant adventure. Severe storms can impose wilderness hazards even a short distance from your car. Do not attempt to cross water filled washes. Always carry protective clothing even when the weather does not appear threatening.
Painted Desert Visitor Center (north end) has a 20 minute Orientation film.
Painted Desert Inn NHL - has exhibits, bookstore and expansive view of the Painted Desert.
Rainbow Forest Museum (south end) has exhibits of petrified wood and of the area's geological story and human history.
See the Calendar Page for more information.
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 thunderstorms in the late summer. There is occasional snow in the winter. High winds can happen any time of year. Humidity is usually low.
See the Weather Page for current conditions, forecasts and other weather data.
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