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In the Land of Color: An Exploration of Petrified Forest’s Black Forest and Onyx Bridge
Instructor: Christa Sadler
May 11 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Petrified Forest National Park is known as one of the best records of Late Triassic paleontology and geology in the world; important new finds are being made regularly here.
But the thing that always amazes people more than any other feature at the park is the incredible petrified wood that literally lies scattered across the landscape. The wood and the colored rocks tell an amazing story of ancient rivers flowing across a supercontinent that stretched end to end on the globe.
Petrified Forest is also one of the most beautiful and fantastical landscapes anywhere! Join us on this half-day adventure in the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, as we explore the park’s geology, paleontology, history, flora and fauna—and whatever other surprises we discover!
We will begin with a short introduction at the Painted Desert Visitor Center to learn about the park’s unique natural and cultural history. Following this, we will carpool to the Painted Desert Inn to begin our hike to the Black Forest and Onyx Bridge.
This 4- to 5-mile round trip hike takes us overland across the desert to the Black Forest, an unusual deposit of petrified wood that has been colored black, and preserves several species of wood not found elsewhere in the park.
Onyx Bridge is a 30 foot long section of petrified wood that has eroded out of the land and crosses a small drainage, creating a unique petrified log “bridge.” The Black Forest is an exceptional area to explore the famous trees that give this park its name, as well as the processes that preserved them for us to see.
- Meeting time: 8:00 AM
- Class will be over by 3:00 PM
- $119 – Non-Member
- $100 – Member
- Trail length: 4 to 5 miles, 300 foot elevation change one way
- Difficulty: moderate; there is no constructed trail and the footing is sometimes scrambly and loose
- Please wear sturdy shoes and sun and rain protection. Bring a lunch and at least two liters of water in a small daypack.
- Other useful items: binoculars and camera, walking stick(s)
Maximum number of participants: 12
Minimum age of participants: 12 (must be accompanied by parent or guardian)