An Ancient Landscape ~ Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Recently, while on a trajectory back to Sedona, AZ, which was home to us for several years, I realized that Petrified Forest National Park was within striking distance.  It had been many years since we had last visited so an overnight stay was added to our itinerary.

Petrified Forest National Park, in northeast Arizona, encompasses roughly 150 miles of brightly hued, abraded badlands, an ancient landscape that was birthed over 225-million years ago. Wind and water transformed this once humid, sub-tropical land, along with tectonic forces that pushed the landscape upward, exposing the Colorado Plateau to immense erosion.  Today, these desolate but beautifully striated formations tell the story of a land that has been scattered on the winds and the remains of trees now dot the landscape, turned to stone, as if Medusa had been at work here.

The Tepees
The Tepees

Petrified Forest is the only national park to protect a section of historic Route 66.  The roads are well-maintained so larger vehicles/RV’s can easily maneuver the 28-mile scenic drive through the park.  If your visit is short as ours was, the Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground at the southern entrance is the place to stay.  Although you will be dry-camping, you will also be staying there free of charge. 🙂

The Painted Desert lies far off in the distance.
The Painted Desert lies far in the distance.
Newspaper Rock, where ancient words are etched onto desert varnish.
Newspaper Rock, where ancient words are etched onto desert varnish.
The sun peering through clouds over the Petrified Forest
The sun peering through clouds over the Petrified Forest
Final rays cast a golden glow over the desert, with petrified wood strewn across the landscape.
Final rays cast a golden glow over the desert, with petrified wood strewn across the landscape.
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