About 50 miles west of the Arizona-New Mexico state line on old Route 66 lies Petrified Forest National Park. Created from ancient river beds and inland lakes, the area is known as the Painted Desert because of its colorful sandstone and mudstone deposits.
What sets it apart from other desert landscapes are its numerous petrified forests, created when the plant material from trees was replaced with quartz over millions of years. Today, the park glistens with multi-hued rock layers and exposed fossils, enticing visitors to explore an out-of-this-world setting for a closer view of nature’s handiwork.
Why Visit Petrified Forest National Park in Your RV?Photo Credit: NPS Jacob Holgerson
The park is a perfect destination for RVers, with navigable paved roads and spacious pull-outs. Many hikers love the idea of heading off into the hills for an hour or two and returning to the comfort of their RV for shade and a bite of lunch before cruising to the next park highlight.
The park encompasses over 221,000 acres and is home to hundreds of plants, animals, fossils, and rock formations. As of June 2018, the park achieved International Dark Sky Park status. It is also one of the few national parks allowing leashed dogs on most trails.
When to Visit Petrified Forest National Park
The park is open year-round, but with a location in the middle of the Arizona desert, temperatures range from above 100℉ to below freezing. This semi-arid desert grassland is home to plants and animals that know how to adapt to these extremes, so you’ll need to be able to as well.