Petrified Forest Wilderness Trails

Flagstaff, Arizona

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When army lieutenant amiel weeks whipple surveyed what is now the Petrified Forest Wilderness in 1853, he was so astonished at all the recently exposed chips, nuggets, blocks, and enormous segments of petrified log that had spilled from multilayered cones and eroding cliffs that he named the wide arroyo running through here Lithodendron—literally, “stone-tree.” Established as a national monument in 1906, the Petrified Forest contains the world’s largest concentration of petrified wood. It’s dense stuff: a piece the size of an orange has the heft of a shot-put ball, and a cubic foot of the material weighs in the neighborhood of 170 pounds. And it’s beautiful. Pick up a chunk, wipe it clean of the sticky reddish clay that covers everything in the Painted Desert, turn it to the sun, and watch its faceted surface reflect rainbow hues. This trail guide covers an area with no maintained trails.

Petrified Forest Wilderness Trails Professional Review and Guide

"When army lieutenant amiel weeks whipple surveyed what is now the Petrified Forest Wilderness in 1853, he was so astonished at all the recently exposed chips, nuggets, blocks, and enormous segments of petrified log that had spilled from multilayered cones and eroding cliffs that he named the wide arroyo running through here Lithodendron—literally, “stone-tree.” Established as a national monument in 1906, the Petrified Forest contains the world’s largest concentration of petrified wood.

It’s dense stuff: a piece the size of an orange has the heft of a shot-put ball, and a cubic foot of the material weighs in the neighborhood of 170 pounds. And it’s beautiful. Pick up a chunk, wipe it clean of the sticky reddish clay that covers everything in the Painted Desert, turn it to the sun, and watch its faceted surface reflect rainbow hues. This trail guide covers an area with no maintained trails."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Flagstaff
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Trailhead Elevation: 5,413 feet
Top Elevation: 6,234 feet
Local Contacts: National Park Service
Local Maps: USGS Agate House, Kachina Point, Little Lithodendron Tank, North Mill Well, Pinta, Chinde Mesa, Adamana
Driving Directions: Directions to Petrified Forest Wilderness Trails

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May 2018