Many people enjoy spending leisure time in the great outdoors and there are various locations where this is possible. In the USA some of the best places are National Parks and most states have a number of these available for the use of the public. While they can be great places for traditional camping and fishing activities, many National Parks have a unique attraction that can make them great places to visit. The Petrified Forest National Park is a great example of this and if you want to see some of the wonders of the natural world this can be a great location to visit. We are excited to share these Petrified Forest National Park Travel Tips to help to make planning your trip a little easier!
The Petrified Forest National Park has many natural wonders to see with the petrified wood and multi-colored badlands in the Painted Desert being just some of these. You can also take in the Painted Desert Inn which has been named a National Historic Landmark and was a working inn for many years before being closed in 1963.
There are also a few facilities in the park to visit and these include the Painted Desert Visitor Center and the Rainbow Forest Museum. The ranger service in the park provides a number of guided tours to some of the major attractions and this can be a good way to get a little more information and find out some of the history of the park. Whether you look around yourself or take some of the guided tours there are many interesting things to see and a day of sightseeing can be a good way to enjoy the park.
The Petrified Forest National Park is one of the more interesting National Parks in Arizona. With the range of scenic views on offer along with the activities that you can enjoy, it can be a good location for a day out or a longer vacation.
Petrified Forest National Park Travel Tips
The park is open year round, with the one exception being when it is closed on Christmas Day. The opening and closing times vary depending on the time of the year, although the core hours tend to be 8.00am to 5.00pm and you can get into the park at these times any time of year.
Don’t miss these top things to do in Petrified Forest! This park is really easy to explore but you don’t want to miss a highlight.
Bring water with you!
When you see a bathroom use the bathroom.
The main route through the park is 28 miles. If you have time try to travel it in both directions to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Arizona does not observe daylight savings time!
Watch for lightning if you are in the park during inclement weather. Make sure and take shelter.
Be prepared for the SUN! Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, and proper clothing.
How much does it cost to visit Petrified Forest National Park?
The fee to enter the park will depend on how you arrive. The cost for private vehicles is $20 and once paid this is applicable for 7 days.
If you are on a bicycle, motorbike or walking the fee is $10 and this is again applicable for 7 days.
America the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass: $80
Annual pass covering the entrance and standard amenity fees for national parks and other federal fee areas. This replaces the National Parks Pass and Golden Eagle Pass.
Annual 4th Grade Pass: Free
Annual pass covering entrance fees for 4th-grade students for 2018-2019 school year.
Annual Pass for US Military: Free
Annual pass covering the entrance and standard amenity fees for all active military personnel and their dependents. (For active duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173).)
Access Pass: Free
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
Senior Pass: $10
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents who are age 62 or older.
Free Entrance Days in 2019
The National Park Service offers the following Entrance Fee Free Days this year:
- January 21: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 20: First day of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 28: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Other fees such as reservation, camping, lodging, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.
How do I get to Petrified Forest National Park?
Petrified Forest National Park is located in Arizona and is situated close to the junction of Interstate 40 and Highway 180. The park area is bordered by the two routes with the north entrance to the park being from Interstate 40 and the south entrance from Highway 180.
Where are the Petrified Forest National Park Visitor Centers?
Painted Desert Visitor Center
The visitor center for Petrified Forest NP is located at exit #311 off of I-40.
The visitor center has a bookstore, park film, and rangers available for questions. There are a restaurant and gift store located next to the park visitor center.
Visitor Center hours
January 1–April 13 8 am to 5 pm
April 14–October 12 8 am to 6 pm
October 13–Dec. 31 8 am to 5 pm
Where can I find out about staying/camping in Petrified Forest National Park?
The Petrified Forest National Park has a wilderness area which people are allowed to backpack into and camp overnight. To do this you need to get a permit at least an hour before closing time, although the permit is free and can be obtained from most of the facilities in the park. The wilderness area permits some great opportunities to see the animals and plant life of the park and an overnight stay can be a fun experience if you enjoy camping.
The wilderness sites do have to be hiked into!
Is there a Junior Ranger Program at Petrified Forest National Park?
Yes! You can pick up the junior ranger program at the visitor center.
Can I bring my Dog/Pet with me to Petrified Forest National Park?
Yes! You can even sign up for the Bark Ranger program at the visitor center or entrance booth. Pets must be kept on a leash that is 6 feet or less in length.
There is a “pet relief” area at the Painted Desert Visitor Center parking lot.
Petrified Forest National Park Additional Resources Information