Instructor: Gary Ladd
A walk through the ancient trees of the Petrified Forest raises questions about the region’s environment at the time of the trees and dinosaurs and it kindles questions about Earth’s extremely long geologic history: What were the causes of mass extinction events both before and after the time of the dinosaurs that once roamed this region? Is it true that North America was once just a small segment of a much larger supercontinent that has since broken apart? Did the first life on Planet Earth appear early in its history?
When we walk the landscapes of the dinosaurs as revealed in this Arizona high desert it seems that we’re walking through the distant past. And yet, Petrified Forest time takes us only about 5% of the way to Earth’s beginnings!
Petrified Forest is a genuine gateway to an understanding of Earth’s long and amazing history. Join Arizona Highways photographer and geologist Gary Ladd for a look at the local geologic story and how it fits into Earth’s evolution over 4,600 million years.
Our geology group will meet at the main Petrified Forest Visitor Center for an introduction to Earth’s geologic history, illustrated with posters and diagrams. Then, using our personal cars, we will caravan to Crystal Forest Overlook (or an alternative location if conditions warrant) for a two hour hike through a fantastic display of petrified logs and Chinle Formation landscapes.
Be sure to bring your camera for the added benefit of tips and instruction from Gary, a world-renowned photographer.
- Meet at 8:00 am
- Finish around 12:00 noon
- $89 – Non-Member
- $80 – Member
Maximum number of participants: 6
We will meet at 8 am at the main Painted Desert Visitor Center lobby at the north entrance to the park. The hiking part of our session will take us about two miles over rolling terrain with about 500 feet of elevation loss and gain. Be sure to bring sturdy boots, one to two quarts of water and snacks, a hat, sunscreen and perhaps a hiking stick. We should be back at the cars around noon and you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the park on your own.