There is no RV, car, or front country camping in the park. There is no boondocking, dispersed or “primitive” camping, or just pulling off into a parking area.
There is only backpacking/hiking into the designated Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area to spend the night in the park, at least a mile from your vehicle. Please be prepared for this adventure!
The backpacking wilderness permit is free. You may obtain it in person from either visitor centers, Painted Desert Visitor Center or Rainbow Forest Museum, on the day that you want to backpack. Each vehicle must have a permit. The permits are available until 4pm.
Group camping is limited to 8. Because of the fragile soils and landscape features, minimum impact camping is very important. This includes limiting the number of people within an area.
See LNT.org to learn about the principles of Leave No Trace camping.
Last updated: October 22, 2021