Laws & Policies


1906 Enabling Legislation establishing Petrified Forest National Monument

Petrified Forest National Park Act (72 Stat. 69), March 28, 1958: Petrified Forest National Park established and national monument concurrently abolished, effective December 9, 1962

Wilderness Act of 1964 defining Wilderness and establishing a National Wilderness Preservation System

Petrified Forest National Park Expansion Act of 2004

Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR parts 1-199 pertains to all National Park areas

wooden sign asking visitors to Please Stay on Trail


Park Regulations

Petrified Forest National Park is mandated to protect and preserve all park resources for today and for future generations. We need your help! Please follow the below park regulations for your safety and for the safety of park resources.

  • Do not remove any natural or cultural object from the park, including fossils, rocks, animals, plants, and artifacts. Do not relocate objects within the park. This changes the context of the objects. Context, where and how fossils and artifacts are found and described, is as important as the objects themselves. It is a minimum fine of $325 for removal or damage to petrified wood or other natural or cultural artifacts and features.
  • Park in designated areas. Please do not stop or park in the middle of the road.
  • Vehicle travel is limited to the paved park road. Off-road travel is not allowed. Obey posted speed limits.
  • All vehicles, including buses, microbuses, and vans, are prohibited from idling their engines for extended periods of time. Idling cannot exceed 5 minutes during periods of inclement weather and 2 minutes at all other times.
  • Do not feed or approach wildlife. This protects the natural feeding and behavior habits of the animals. Animals that beg for food can be aggressive and may bite or harm people. Please do not allow your pets near animals. Do not handle injured or dead animals.
  • Pets must be leashed (no longer than 6 feet) and physically restrained at all times. Pets are allowed everywhere the public can go except inside the buildings. Pets may not be tied to an object and left unattended for longer than 5 minutes. Please clean up after your pet.
  • Please stay on trails and behind any barricades. Plants in this environment grow by the inch and are destroyed by the foot. Don't let it be your foot! Fragile soils and animal homes are also easily disturbed.
  • Do not climb on prehistoric or historic walls.
  • Do not harm or remove any petroglyphs. Direct physical contact with rock art is prohibited.
  • Petrified Forest National Park is only open to the public for day use. Park access is prohibited during closed hours except by permit.
  • Ground fires are prohibited at all times. The use of solar, propane, and white gas fuel stoves and charcoal grills are allowed in designated picnic areas. During periods of extreme fire danger, charcoal grills are prohibited.
  • Do not litter. Use appropriate receptacles, including recycling containers located at Painted Desert Visitor Center. Cigarette butts are considered litter, too!
  • Backpacking is allowed by permit only. A free permit can be obtained at any Visitor Center facility no later than 1-hour before the park closes.
  • Carrying or use of firearms in federal buildings is prohibited.
  • The consumption of alcohol or the presence of open alcoholic containers is prohibited, except in picnic areas or concession food service facilities.
  • People are prohibited from launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service.

Further information about park policies can be found in the Superintendent's Compendium on the park Management page.

For more information about the policies that guide the National Park Service as a whole visit the NPS Laws, Policies & Regulations page.


Firearms in Petrified Forest National Park

Beginning February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in this park. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, was enacted May 22, 2009 and will become effective February 22, 2010. Section 512 of this law, Protecting Americans from Violent Crimes, supersedes the uniform treatment of firearm possession in the national park system outside Alaska under the regulations found at 36 C.F.R. 2.4.

It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park. Firearms may not be discharged in this national park and should not be used as a wildlife protection strategy.

Federal law also prohibits firearms in certain facilities in this park (such as visitor centers, government offices, etc.); those places are marked with signs at all public entrances.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Concealed Weapons Permits Unit website

Last updated: March 21, 2020

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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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