A group of young pronghorn at sunset
A group of young pronghorn at sunset


Despite the term "Painted Desert", Petrified Forest is actually located in a grassland—shortgrass prairie. It is home to many plants and animals, with grassland, riparian, badland, sand dune, and spring habitats. Species often have adaptations to survive in this demanding environment, including being nocturnal. Visitors sometimes miss the diversity of the region as they are only here momentarily.

Simple PEFO food web with arrows connecting square photos of plants and animals.


Working Together

The ecology of a park is the study of how everything works together, the living species, climate, weather, geology, geography, and more. Food webs chart the relationship between species, how energy flows from plants to herbivores, through carnivores, and decomposers. The difference in water availability, elevation, and soil all affect what the habitats looks like and who lives there. As you visit the park, you will notice differences from one end to the other.

Explore Nature and Science in the park.

Learn about the Animals and the Plants of the park.

Research Activities
Biologists at the park are constantly learning more about the ecological resources at Petrified Forest.

Published Research Articles
Published research from both staff and academics beyond.

Last updated: April 15, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217

Petrified Forest, AZ 86028-2217


928 524-6228

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