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Camping Near Petrified Forest Az

Other Things To Do In And Near Petrified Forest National Park

Look a unicorn! Free Camping near the Painted Desert Petrified Forest National Park | Arizona

Have a bit more time around Petrified Forest National Park? Consider:

  • Grabbing a beer at the Empty Pockets Saloon, which has an abundance of ol Wild West vibes and friendly locals.

  • Digging for petrified wood at Dobell Ranch. Instead of breaking federal law and yoinking petrified wood from the national park, why dont you dig some up yourself at Dobell Ranch? This family-run establishment appears to be the only place in town that lets you go on your own excavating expedition- perfect for a family outing or a unique afternoon activity.

  • Picking up a kitschy Route 66 souvenir at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. This souvenir shop, dating back to the 1940s, has become almost iconic with respect to Route 66 history, in part, due to an enormous fiberglass rabbit in front of the store that you can mount . In fact, its so ingrained in Route 66 folklore that the store was featured in the Pixar movie, Cars. Stop in to peruse the small museum of memorabilia, pick up a souvenir, and engross yourself in Americana.

Petrified Forest is seriously so underrated and I hope you enjoy this hidden gem as much as I did. What did you think of Petrified Forest? Let me know in the comments below!

Getting To And Around Petrified Forest National Park

Getting to Petrified Forest National Park is pretty straight forward. Located in the northeastern part of Arizona, it is accessible via Interstate 40 at exit 311. The Visitors Center is about a mile north of the highway, but the park has regions that run north of the interstate and as far south as Highway 180.

Travel around the park requires a car or RV. No motorized vehicles are allowed on park trails however, horses are allowed in the Painted Desert Wilderness. There is no public transportation available in the area.

Petrified Forest National Park has some of the most unique examples of geology, archaeology, and paleontology within the national park system. You will come away from your visit with a sense of awe at what Mother Nature has accomplished here!

Have you ever wanted to go to the Petrified Forest National Park? Leave a comment below.

Crystal Forest Petrified Forest Hiking Trail

The second trail I had the chance to go on was the Crystal Forest trail. Easy paved path but, a surreal experience to be among these stone structures that have formed within the last 200 million years. The trees were preserved under layers of silt during the Triassic period and eventually replaced by quartz before being eroded to the surface. The landscape itself is dry and barren, except for the miles of ancient stones.

It is an easy trail and is 1 mile long. You can also go on the trail with your dog as long as you keep it on a leash. I enjoyed the trail, and I can say that it was pretty easy to maneuver. I loved the petrified log views and enjoyed the different colors. If you go there in summer, make sure to carry a lot of water. Look out for the rings on the trees so that you dont pass by without seeing them.

Length: 0.9 mi

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America The Beautiful The National Parks And Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series

A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas . Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

The Petrified National Forest Park Weather

A Prehistoric Paradise: Camping the Petrified Forest ...

If you always look for the best and like to sight The Petrified National Forest Park when it shines on the chest of Arizona, join from May through September. The humidity and temperature are pleasantly low at this time. July, June, and additionally August are the warmest times to discover the park. If you want to avoid sunburn, it is highly suggested to postpone your journey. The snowy and rainy days are expected in August so equip yourself with proper clothes. The park experiences most snow in December and becomes a paradise for ski lovers. The wind is a piece of Petrified National Forest Parks attraction, and in April, you will experience the windiest days. February, June, and July are the crowded months in the park, so November is an excellent time to visit the park if you want to escape from the population. You may choose your favorite time according to your tastes and investigate the area in detail.

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Petrified Forest National Park Overview

Petrified Forest National Park is located 25 miles east of Holbrook, Arizona, along Interstate 40. This often overlooked unit of the National Park System protects the largest concentration of petrified wood in the world. Around 225 million years ago, during the late Triassic era, this area was a humid subtropical forest located near the equator. Dead trees would fall into the water and were quickly buried in sediment, preserving them. The combination of a low-oxygen environment and the presence of mineralized groundwater led to the creation of this geologic oddity. As the ages wore on, groundwater rich with silica dioxide seeped into buried logs, gradually replacing their cells with colorful quartz. Today these petrified logs re-emerge from the eroding hills of the painted desert. Heavy and brittle, these logs tend to break across their shortest axis, creating the appearance of wood cut by crosscut saw.

While the petrified wood is certainly the main attraction, there is much more to this place than some rocks that look like trees. Approach any group of large boulders with darkened patina and you will likely find petroglyphs, signs of the park’s former inhabitants. Archeological evidence suggests that this place has seen human occupation for about 8,000 years. Careful observers might find pot shards, arrowheads, or vertebrate fossils scattered about the landscape.

Operating Hours

  • May 14 to August 5: 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Petrified National Forest Park Camping

The Petrified National Forest Park is not a national forest that you accept. It is the burial ground of fossilized trees, colorful rocks, and spectacular views. As one of the most exciting USA National Parks, it is so colorful and gorgeous that it tempts everybody to stay here and camp in this primordial paradise. It would be best if you had a permit to camp in Petrified National Forest Park. The park includes three campgrounds, and that each one offers something different. You may select one according to your particular needs.

Holbrook/Petrified Forest KOS is located in a scenic place equipped with a swimming pool. The family-friendly campground creates an unforgettable camping experience for family members. Homolovi Ruins State Park is a place for anybody interested in the culture and history of Native American people. The large campsite has a visitor center that shows fascinating artifacts. The next available campground is Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area Campground, a beautiful place and a 1-hour drive from the park. If you look for a unique camping experience, do not miss the time to camp in the heart of The Petrified National Forest Park. You have free access to the dark sky and may sing your favorite song with your beloved under the moons silver reflection.

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Free Petrified National Forest Boondocking Spots

First we want to remind you that the mileages are 1. estimates and 2. usually measured either to geographic center of the park ot to the visitors center and driving distance is much closer.

You may want to consider an Arizona Annual State Park Pass if you plan to spend a lot of time in Arizona. The pass is inexpensive for the whole year and can save you $100s of dollars in entrance fee.

Campgrounds Near Petrified Forest Np

Free Camping near Petrified Forest National Park – Campground Review – Full Time RV Living & Travel

I’d appreciate any insight into the camping options near Petrified Forest. As I see it, the option are the KOA, OK RV park and free camping at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop.

If any locals look at this site, I’d really like to know if there are safety issues when parking at the gift shop. The only reason I even am thinking about it is the proximity…I don’t care so much about the cost.

Of the other options, is one really any closer than the other to the park? Either one nicer?

At this point I’m leaning toward the OK RV Park but would really like any opinions or thoughts that are out there.


I have not camped at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground, but I am familiar with the area. First of all, safety should not be an issue because you are in the middle of nowhere. Anybody that lives out on 180 is either a rancher or the gift shop owner. The land is gently rolling to flat and you can see quite a distance. It would be considered high desert–no trees in the area and hot in the summer. You would likely hear coyotes at night and see great numbers of stars. While they do have hookups, I don’t think they have water.

I know nothing about the OK RV park, and it would be my last choice for that reason. The KOA is fine, but not the best of the KOA’s.

The location of the Crystal Forest cg would entice me to stay there. You are just outside of the park!

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Camping Near Petrified Forest

I was hoping to make a stop here on my way from Amarillo to the Grand Canyon. I see that no overnight camping is allowed. Is there any place near by to tent camp? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,

As we where there last fall we could stay for free on the south entrance, near the Petrified Forest Gift shop and on the other side of the road at Crystal Forest Gift shop. There where places for RV, but I think it could also be possible to overnight in a tent.

There is a KOA in Holbrook. When is your trip? Tent camping will be quite cold. Having a warm shower at a campground could be a luxury. GCNP South Rim will be colder. Also, you must have a reservation to camp at GCNP.

There is also a campground just off I-40, Exit 233 at the entrance to Meteor Crater.

Homolovi State Park near Winslow has nice spots to camp. Most sites have electric. Bathrooms even have showers! We love stopping here on the way too and from Grand Canyon.

Yeah, you can camp-pitch a tent, down by the gift shop at the south entrance. It’s about as basic as you can get, more like a parking lot by Tepees, but it works for a night and the price is right, free! Great star gazing!.

Definitely go to the museum by the south park entrance in the park, most excellent.

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Camping Near Petrified Forest National Park Find A Free Campsite

Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.

Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.

This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

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Entering Petrified Forest National Park

The following prices cover entry to the fee area of Petrified Forest National Park, and buy you unlimited access for seven consecutive days. If youre a frequent visitor or are planning to visit multiple parks this year, you might also consider purchasing the $80 America the Beautiful annual pass, which gets you entry into more than 2,000 national federal recreational areas.

Private Vehicle: $20

Painted Desert Camping Rules & Safety

Painted Desert Camping Guide: Camping in Petrified Forest ...

There are a number of regulations in place with regards to Painted Desert camping. Everyone must adhere to them, both for their own safety and to limit impact on this vulnerable landscape.

  • You must camp at least 1 mile away from two designated overnight parking areas.
  • Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted in the Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area.
  • It is illegal to collect petrified wood, rocks, plants, fossils and other objects anywhere in Petrified Forest National Park.
  • Charcoal or wood fires are not allowed. Cook your food on fuel stoves.
  • Dont leave any trash behind. Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Bury human waste.
  • Be aware that afternoons can be scorching hot and nights may be freezing cold.
  • Make sure to bring lots of water. In summer, at least one gallon per person per day is advised.

For more information on how you can reduce the impact your activities have on the environment, I encourage you to visit the Leave No Trace website.

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Mandarin Beauty Chinese Restaurant

Have you ever been to China or other Asian countries? Do you like to taste Chinese food in the Petrified National Forest Park? This vegetarian-friendly restaurant offers delicious Asian and Cantonese cuisine along with Middle East hospitality. Mandarin Beauty Chinese Restaurant could be an excellent destination after a long journey.

Where To Stay Nearby

Holbrook is the closest town to Petrified Forest National Park. Here you can find many motels offering accommodation 20 miles west of the park along I-40. Most are your basic roadside hotels, but there are a couple of standouts. Although you might notice the Painted Desert Inn on the map, this historic hotel built out of petrified wood functions only as a museum now.

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Puerco Pueblo Petrified Forest Hiking Trail

Short trail, takes no time at all. The rock detailing the solstice with the shaft of light through another rock crack is incredible. Pretty sweet! Worth a stop. Petroglyphs are actually a bit better than the nearby Newspaper Rock because you can see them at a much closer vantage.

Another easy trail to try out in Petrified Forest National park is Puerco Pueblo Trail. It is a short trail that will not take much of your time at all. You can also come with your dog as long as you keep it leashed. The trail was short and the rock detailing was very incredible. This place, to me, was the best place that I got to learn a lot about the PFNP landscape history.

Length: 0.3 mi

What To Pack For Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest KOA Review | Closest Full Service Campground by National Park | Holbrook, AZ

I trust that you have the toothbrush and socks part of your packing list sorted, but what kinds of odds and ends should you bring along to Petrified Forest National Park?

The proceeds support the National Park Service and if you plan to go to at least three national parks per year , picking up one of these bad boys is a no brainer. You can either pick one up here, at your local REI, or at most staffed entrance stations at U.S. National Parks. Obviously, if your adventures this year dont include some National Park visits other than your trip to Petrified Forest, purchasing a pass probably doesnt make a ton of financial sense. But otherwise, its seriously one of the best money saving travel hacks that I know!

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Long Logs And Agate House Loop Petrified Forest Hiking Trail

Agate house was a great sight but the trail starts with a 1/2 mi paved road which I imagine would be scorching/unbearable on a typical summer day. Seems like they are trying to deter people from visiting the agate house by stripping the original road to the trailhead.

The fourth trail that I loved a lot was the Long Logs and Agate House Loop Trail. It is an easy trail that is 2.6 miles long. If you love wildlife, this is the best chance you will have to see some of them. The trail is accessible all year round, and you can bring your dog and keep it on a leash. If you go there during summer as I did, carry lots of water. There are also a few shade spots that are great for you and even your dogs. The trail is lovely and worth the hike.

Length: 2.6 mi

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