Camping

Tent in wilderness area
Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area camping

NPS/Tara Harbert

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 on the day that you want to backpack. Each vehicle must have a permit. The permits are available until 4pm.

There are private campgrounds throughout Navajo and Apache Counties, in and around Holbrook, Sun Valley, St. Johns, Joseph City, and other communities.

 

Nearby national park sites with campgrounds:

The National Forest Service maintains great campgrounds in:

Nearby Arizona and New Mexico State Parks include:

Visit www.recreation.gov for information and reservations for public lands

 
To see the information below in its original form and more information go to the Superintendent’s Compendium.

36 CFR §2.10 – CAMPING and FOOD STORAGE
(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:

Certain types of fire (as listed below) are allowed in the designated picnic areas at Rainbow Forest and Chinde Point. The use of solar, propane/butane, and white gas fueled stoves is allowed in wilderness camping areas.

Receptacles Allowed:
The use of solar, propane/butane, white gas fueled stoves and charcoal-type grills is allowed in designated picnic areas. Charcoal fires are not allowed in wilderness camping areas.

(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

In the Painted Desert unit of the Wilderness Area, starting at least one linear mile from the trailhead at Kachina Point, or north of the Lithodendron Wash. Camping is also allowed in the back country area north of the Painted Desert Rim and south of the Lithodendron Wash, known as “Zone 5” on the camping zone map. Total campers are limited to 50 persons and 12 stock animals per night (see also group size limits below).

In the Rainbow Forest unit of the Wilderness Area, starting at least a half mile southeast of the main park road in the Flattops Wilderness Area. Total campers are limited to 25 persons and 6 stock animals per night (see also group size limits below).

Guided groups may camp at designated campsites as long as they are self-contained, practice Leave No Trace principles, and employ a means of hauling refuse and human waste away with them.

(b2) Refuse must be packed out of the wilderness by the user.

(b9) Camping is allowed for not more than a total of 30 days in any calendar year park-wide.

Group size is limited as follows;
1. Eight (8) person limit per group staying in the wilderness overnight.
2. Use of campsites is limited to eight (8) persons.
3. There is a limit of six (6) head of pack and saddle stock per party. All food and water must be packed in.

Camping in the park without a permit is prohibited. A permit may be obtained for a maximum of 14 consecutive days. Wilderness and Zone 5 campsites must be relocated every three days to minimize impacts on the resource. All permit applicants must read and sign the permit conditions sheet before being issued a permit.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:
Certain types of fire (as listed below) are allowed in the designated picnic areas at Rainbow Forest and Chinde Point. The use of solar, propane/butane, and white gas fueled stoves is allowed in wilderness camping areas.

Receptacles Allowed: The use of solar, propane/butane, white gas fueled stoves and charcoal-type grills is allowed in designated picnic areas. Charcoal fires are not allowed in wilderness camping areas.

Established Conditions for Fires: Fires must be constantly monitored, and must be completely extinguished before leaving the area.

(c) High fire danger closures will be in effect as noted:
No fires are allowed if the area is posted with high fire danger warning signs. Determination: Fires are generally safe except during high-fire danger. Fire restrictions may be issued by the Superintendent.

Last updated: October 22, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Petrified Forest National Park
PO Box 2217 1 Park Road #2217
Attn.:

Petrified Forest , AZ 86028-2217

Phone:

928 524-6228

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