Petrified Forest National Park has reopened, along with Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum. There are no limitations on access to most of the park attractions and established trails.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the Field Institute events have been canceled as we rework the guided hiking trips and workshops to implement necessary safety measures. Our hope is to be able to bring these workshops and more back next season in a way that protects participants and instructors.
- This event has passed.
A Day of Discovery: North to South in Petrified Forest
October 3, 2015
Instructor: Denise Traver
Pack your day pack and prepare for a full day of discovery and exploration! Petrified Forest National Park has so many things to see, it’s difficult to decide where to begin. This day gives you a broad spectrum of what the park has to offer.
We’ll meet on the north end at the Painted Desert Visitor Center and caravan the 28 miles through the park to the south end at Rainbow Forest Museum Visitor Center. We take an additional 3.5 mile side loop to Blue Mesa. We’ll stop at various points along the route to discuss the early Puebloan people, view rock art sites, Route 66 and the history of the railroad that dissects the park.
Continuing on, we’ll take a side trip to the striking Blue Mesa area and eat our lunch at the covered picnic tables. Then we’ll stretch our legs on a great “up close and personal” one mile (1.6 km) geology hike along the beautiful Blue Mesa Trail. The trail is alternately paved and gravel surfaced, and after an initial relatively steep section, is basically rolling and gentle for most of its distance.
Our day would not be complete without seeing what Petrified Forest is famous for – petrified wood! Our next stop takes us through the Crystal Forest for some of the most exquisite examples of petrified wood in the park. An easy 3/4 mile walk along an asphalt trail among some of the most colorful logs found in the park – many with quartz crystals within the slabs of “wood.”
Things begin to wind down as we make our way to our last stop at Rainbow Forest Museum. We’ll recap the day’s topics and then say our goodbyes at the south end of the park.
- $119 – Non-Member
- $100 – Member
Meet at 9:00 AM at the Painted Desert Visitor Center. Lunch will be provided. Since we will be caravanning on this 28-mile one-way trip, participants will need their own transportation or to make arrangements to carpool in advance. We will be done between 4:00 and 4:30 PM.
Participants should provide their own sunscreen, hat, light sweater or jacket (rain protection), sturdy shoes and a small daypack to carry items for side hikes. Lunch will be provided, but each person should have at least 1 liter/quart or more of water for the day’s activities.
Maximum number of participants: 10
Minimum age of participants: 12 (must be accompanied by parent or guardian.