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 > Petrified Forest National Park

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Dolph

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Posted: 09/01/09 10:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In general terms a Nat'l Monument protects single significant features and Nat'l Parks protect a multitude of features. When one goes to the Petrified Forest Nat'l Park unprepared; They are probably not aware that there are over 600 significant archeological sites in the park dating back to the time the Paleo-Indians wandered through between 9500-6000 BC, or of the many significant fossils found and still being found in the park. They may be aware that the Park contains one of the largest fields of Petrified Wood in the World. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that Congress has chosen to protect some of finds from the public. Since you can't see them and if you are not educated as to what the Park has to offer it is easy to disparage it.

Major Dad

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Posted: 09/01/09 12:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dolph wrote:

In general terms a Nat'l Monument protects single significant features and Nat'l Parks protect a multitude of features. When one goes to the Petrified Forest Nat'l Park unprepared; They are probably not aware that there are over 600 significant archeological sites in the park dating back to the time the Paleo-Indians wandered through between 9500-6000 BC, or of the many significant fossils found and still being found in the park. They may be aware that the Park contains one of the largest fields of Petrified Wood in the World. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that Congress has chosen to protect some of finds from the public. Since you can't see them and if you are not educated as to what the Park has to offer it is easy to disparage it.


I agree with Dolph. We've visited three times since 2002, and will stop by again next time we go through the area. We like to stay in Flagstaff and strike out from there, and PFNP is always a pleasant spot to stop and hike on the way.


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ReneeG

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Posted: 09/01/09 05:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, we're looking forward to it too. The only other place we've seen petrified wood was a a gift shop in Sprindale outside of Zion and Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado - that was amazing, especially to see the size of the tree trunks fossilized.


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thatguy1967

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Posted: 09/02/09 12:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

4runnerguy wrote:

I know many here disagree, but IMHO, Petrified Forest is the most disappointing NP I've been to, and I'm a geologist! Unless your travels don't allow, have you considered staying at Bonito NF CG near Sunset Crater (north of Flagstaff) and touring Wupatki and/or Walnut Canyon NM's? Bonito CG is higher up and has more trees. But the ground is covered with black volcanic ash/sand. Really different and interesting. The trees around Petrified Forest NP are all rock!



Umm, that would be why it's called "Petrified" Forest NP.


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4runnerguy

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Posted: 09/02/09 01:43pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

thatguy1967 wrote:

Umm, that would be why it's called "Petrified" Forest NP.
Wow, I though it was because the trees were all scared! [emoticon]


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DesertHawk

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Posted: 09/02/09 05:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have two places I would recommend near the Petrified Forest: Homolovi Ruins and Lyman Lake State Parks. More on each at the end of the post.

ReneeG, there are other places to see petrified wood. Not Petrified Forest Nat'l Park....but I have read about this one in New Mexico Magazine (simular to Arizona Hwys), but have not gone there. It would be very much a boondocking area. This is the information I have found and saved:

Little visited and largely unknown, the Bisti Badlands is an amazingly scenic and colorful expanse of undulating mounds and unusual eroded rocks covering 4,000 acres, hidden away in the high desert that covers the distant northwest corner of New Mexico. The Badlands are administered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and are known officially, but less evocatively as the Bisti Wilderness Area. There are no signposts pointing the way to the Badlands from any nearby towns, but the usual approach route is along NM 371 from Farmington, the largest town in the Four Corners region - this heads due south through wide open prairie land at the east edge of the great Navajo Indian Reservation, which extends for 200 miles across into Arizona. After 36 miles, a gravel track exits east, opposite an historical marker recording the history of this area and of the nearby Bisti trading post, now derelict.

Bisti

Approach Roads: Five miles along the entrance track, the grassy plain is replaced quite abruptly by a multi-colored eroded landscape of small clayish hills, shallow ravines, and strange rock formations. The scene is a vivid mixture of red, grey, orange and brown that stretches for many miles. The track passes a large area suitable for parking, then crosses a dry sandy wash and continues alongside the badlands for ca 3 miles before rejoining NM 371. However, the road was fenced off shortly after the wash when I visited, a barrier which looked quite permanent. The far end of the track is actually the official entrance to the badlands, not that there is much difference in scenery or facilities. Several similar un-signposted tracks cross the sandy hills at the south edge of the formations, around a seasonal drainage known as the De-na-zin Wash. A ten mile drive along one such bumpy track leads to the much larger De-na-zin wilderness - equally colorful and even more remote, although partially covered with vegetation.

The nearest towns with hotels close to the Bisti Badlands are Bloomfield, Farmington and Gallup.

Scenery: After a few minutes walk into the wilderness, the road is out of sight and the surreal landscape is all around. The clayish hills are composed of layers of coal, silt, shale and mudstone with varying hardness and colouration, and are mixed with more resistant sandstone which has eroded into weird formations similar to those of Goblin Valley or Bryce Canyon in Utah. Many small ravines created by rainwater erosion cross through the hills, and there are also occasional mini caves and fissures several meters deep. Much of the surface is unstable - the layers are often loose, rocks are crumbling and some of the formations are quite delicate. Hikers should take care not to damage the features; there are no established trails, but walking along the ravines is the usual way to explore. Petrified wood is scattered across the surface - sometimes entire tree stumps, with the bark still clearly recognisable. Fossils may also be found - the teeth and bones of a variety of species including dinosaurs are embedded in the earthy layers.

Abandoned Buildings: The loneliness of this strange and deserted land is emphasised by a cluster of abandoned and semi-derelict buildings nearby. These are the remnants of the old Bisti trading post, and include a large warehouse, a gas station, several storage sheds and most poignantly, a childrens' playground, now overgrown and rusty. One building is still in use - a sparsely furnished church used for services on several occasions a week, and left open for the casual visitor to enter at other times. Walking around this sandy, wind-swept location, which has the appearance of being deserted for many years, is a moving experience, made all the more memorable by the mysterious landscape.



For a campsite near the Petrified Forest. I have not been this one, but have read it is a nice one. Homolovi Ruins State PARK, Winslow, Arizona -not too far from the Nat'l Park.

On I-40 Take exit 257 for AZ-87 toward Second Mesa 0.4 mi; Turn left at AZ-87/I-40 Bus/E Second St (signs for AZ-87/Second Mesa)
Continue to follow AZ-87 1.5 mi; Turn left at Honani Rd.

Another one we have stayed at (after a visit to PFNP) is Lyman Lake State PARK. It is not too far from PF Nat'l Park, but off the interstate some miles.

* This post was last edited 09/02/09 05:38pm by DesertHawk *   View edit history


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Bonefish

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Posted: 09/03/09 08:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My DH is a geologist and you stop at everything from road cuts to a rock in the middle of the road. I only remember a little about the park because I was sick. DH & our sons took walks and stopped at all the pull outs. I do know we did it in a day.

Sharon





DakotaD

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Posted: 09/02/09 10:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Went through PFNP last June. Came in from Flagstaff on the way to Albuquerque. It is a great drive plus you get a large size portion of Painted Dessert. We got off I40 headed East and came in the back way which leads through PFNP and back to I 40 in a large circle.
I've also heard the one north of Flagstaff is better but for my first time this was a great trip. We drive a 36 ft Class A towing a Saturn Vue and had no problems with pull outs and parking at many of the trails. It is a great trip.
We have Senior Pass and it was free for us. 25 buck per vehicle is the normal price. Not sure but I think the free weekend is over for this year. Don't try to enter the park with any open petrified wood. They checked ever 3rd vehicle as we were leaving. They suggest you buy your PW after leaving. The NP store is on the end we exited so we picked up some there. I'm not sure if they really searched any vehicles but they did ask if we had any as we exited.
Good luck.


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Oldtymeflyr

Arapahoe Hills, CO

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Posted: 09/03/09 07:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am not inclined to go back to the Petrified Forest, its a personal thing, We have limited time and find other places more appealing and interesting.

I am sure that some of the places we like to visit, that there are people who don't care to spend any time. In fact its pretty obvious when we look around and see no one. Hmmm, just the way we like it.

two-niner

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Posted: 09/02/09 08:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Every state in the lower 48 have petrified trees. But there is only one Petrified Forest.
Don't believe the naysayers. However it is better to go through the Painted Desert first and end up at the n/w end of the PFNP and at the gift shop last. (IMO)

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