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Petrified Forest National Park

The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert are easily accessible from US 40, east of Holbrook, Arizona.  The park road starts at the Painted Desert, a stretch of colorful badlands of the desert.  There are Indian ruins and also petroglyphs.   The Painted Desert Inn renovated by the Civilian Conservation Corp is worthy of a stop.  The popularity of this area greatly increased with the building of Route 66 in the 1930's.

The second portion of the park consists of petrified wood strewn across the desert floor.  Part of the reason this park was first established was to stop the alarming amount of petrified wood that was leaving the area.  Unfortunately visitors still take petrified wood despite the threat of stiff fines.  The Crystal Forest once had petrified logs with quartz, smoky quartz and amethyst crystal but much of the crystal was removed by visitors.  The logs were beautiful and some very colorful. 

The Rainbow Forest Museum provides exhibits of wood and fossils.  The Giant Log Trail begins outside the museum and passes the park's largest log, Old Faithful.

The area can be windy in the spring and it was very windy the day we visited.  Outside the park gift shops sell petrified wood and we were surprised by the quantity for sale.

You can check out several photographs by clicking on this Petrified Forest photo gallery link.