If you are planning a trip to Arches or Zion national parks in Utah over the Memorial Day holiday, then you’d better brace for crowds. No duh, right? However, if you are looking to spend time in a less-visited park that has some amazing scenery and geology, then why not take a look at Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona. As a matter of fact, the National Parks published my latest Traveler Checklist today. These checklists I write are not the kind reminding you to bring along your toothpaste and not to forget the toothbrush, but rather what you might do during a visit to the park, what to watch out for, and maybe where to get a decent coffee or meal.
To read the checklist, click on the image above.
This image was captured shortly after my arrival at the Painted Desert portion of the park during my road trip move from TX to WA. It was summer, which is the monsoon season out in that part of the U.S., so storm clouds floated over the park, threatening to create a downpour. Never happened, though – may have been cloudy, but was dry as a bone over the landscape.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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Looking over Blue Mesa Trail, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
I spent the day in the park, yesterday. It was a dry heat (grin). This place is pretty amazing. Oh, there are no mountains or rivers or streams, and I saw very little wildlife (a dear, a bunny, and a raven). The the geology is really cool. I mean, think about it a moment: this place, once a swampy area with tall, thick trees and dinosaurs, is now a semi-arid (felt totally arid, to me) land with the petrified (agatized) remains of fallen trees. The conditions at the time had to be just right in order to petrify the swaths of logs you can see from your car window and from the hiking trails.
This image was captured at a view area overlooking the Blue Mesa trail and surrounding scenery. The rocks really *are* blue (and purple, mauve, beige and buff), with fallen logs, many longer than I am tall with a girth of 2-4 ft.
If you ever have the chance to visit this national park, you can see it in a day, although I always advocate maybe 1-1/2 to 2 days exploring. The first thing you should do when the park opens up at 7am is to hightail it out to the Blue Mesa Trail to hike it when it’s coolest and when the sunlight is angled just right.
Now, it’s on to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
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