News Release

Hike Your Park with a Ranger!

Visitors hiking in the Blue Forest area of the park, banded badlands under a very blue sky.
Visitors hiking in the Blue Forest area of the park.


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News Release Date: August 11, 2023

Contact: Victoria Philpott, (928) 524-6228 x238

Petrified Forest, AZ - Tired of staying indoors from the summer heat? Need to get away from work and the city noise? Hike the beautiful Painted Desert with a Ranger!  Enjoy peaceful spectacular fall views of the park while you get some steps in! 
Hikes are free with entrance fee. Reservations required and limited to 10 participants per hike. Hikers should come prepared with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. There is little to no shade on the hikes. No pets (exception for the Bark Ranger hike) nor children under the age of 12 on hikes. Inclement weather and extreme mud will cancel the hike. To make a reservation or for more information call 928-524-6228 x238, leave a message if no answer. 

Friday, September 29, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Historic Rainbow Forest Road
Difficulty: Moderate

Hike 5 Miles with an archeologist through the Rainbow Canyon, once a major visitation feature in the1800s. Included will be passage along the historic, petrified wood paved road that early visitors traveled, and petrified wood deposits in the Park's backcountry to an Ancestral Puebloan petroglyph site dating to approximately 1150-1300 CE. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work will also be explored. Be prepared to hike 6 hours in off-trail conditions including wash beds, compact sand, slopes, paved asphalt, and rocky terrain. The average elevation gain is approximately 225 feet and rated moderate. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Point of Bluff
Difficulty: Strenuous

Hike 8 miles with an archeologist through petrified wood deposits in the Park's backcountry to an Ancestral Puebloan petroglyph site dating to approximately 1150-1300 CE. Be prepared to hike 7 hours with an elevation gain of 200 feet through wash beds, loose sand dunes and loose slopes. This hike is rated strenuous due to length. 

Friday, October 6, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Four Bridges
Difficulty: Strenuous 

Hike 6 milesround trip into the Painted Desert to Onyx Bridge and three lesser-known bridges in off­ trail desert wilderness conditions. Be prepared to hike 6 hours with an average elevationgain of 675 feet. Rating is strenuous due to the steep 600-foot switchback. 

Saturday, October 7, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Red Basin Clam Beds
Difficulty: Strenuous 

Hike 8.5 milesround trip throughcolorful geologic features, including some in recently acquired lands. Be prepared to hike approximately 7 hours in off-trail conditions, average elevation gain of 600 feet, and rated strenuous due to length. 

Friday, October 13, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Historic Blue Forest Road 
Difficulty: Challenging

Hike 4 miles round trip on the Historic Blue Forest Trail constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC), with the trail rehabilitated in 2013 for adventurous hikers like yourselves! This hike traverses the trail and beyond through rugged, beautiful badlands, which includes very steep ascents and descents. Be prepared to hike approximately 3 hours over rugged desert terrain, average elevation gain of 425 feet, and rated challenging. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023 
Backcountry Hike: Painted Desert Saunter 
Difficulty: Moderate 

Hike 5.5 miles round trip to boulders covered in petroglyphs and continue to badlands with ascending high ridge panoramic views. Be prepared to hike approximately 6 hours over rugged desert terrain, average elevation gain of 300 feet, and rated moderate. 

Friday, November 3, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Devils Playground
Difficulty: Easy 

Walk 4 miles round trip and experience historic expedition routes through the Painted Desert as you hike with Park archeologists to a 19th century mail stop. Discover historic inscriptions along the mesa edges as you follow in the footsteps of some of the first Euro-Americans to traverse this region. Be prepared to hike approximately 5 hours over rugged desert terrain and wash walking, average elevation gain of 100 feet, rated easy, hiking in washes which may be muddy. A high-clearance vehicle is necessary to access the Devils Playground area. 

Friday, November 10, 2023 
Guided Backcountry Hike: Jasper Forest Road-Bark Ranger Hike
Difficulty: Easy 

Hike 3 miles round trip with your Bark Ranger along a vintage 1930s era roadbed among beautiful, petrified logs. Be prepared to hike approximately 2-3 hours over rugged desert terrain, average elevation gain of 150 feet, and rated easy. Bark Ranger limited to 1 dog per person and must get along with people and other animals. 

Geologic formation at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
Geologic formation at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona


Last updated: September 13, 2023

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Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217

Petrified Forest, AZ 86028-2217


928 524-6228

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