Guided Tours

Hikers heading into Jasper Forest
Off the Beaten Path Jasper Forest Hike

Heather Sakurai

Guided Activities

Special programs will be offered throughout the year! Check the searchable Calendar, as well as our social media pages.

Ranger Guided Programs are available seasonally and as staffing allows, but our staff is always roving the park. Keep an eye out for roving rangers in popular areas like Puerco Pueblo, Crystal Forest, and Giant Logs for on-the-spot information.

 
Illuminated in red light, a Park Ranger looks into a telescope while stars fill the background.
Petrified Forest recognizes that the unimpeded natural night sky is a valuable resource worth preserving.

NPS Photo / Jake Holgerson

Dark Skies Over Petrified Forest


November 3rd, 2018
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Join us at Painted Desert Inn as we celebrate our designation as an official International Dark Sky Park. The event includes a ranger program, guest speakers, astro-activities, and telescopes for celestial viewing! We recommend bringing warm clothing and a red-light flashlight or headlamp for optimal dark sky viewing.

If you plan on entering the park though our southern entrance (HWY-180) you will need to enter BEFORE 5 pm. After 5 pm, the only access into or out of the park will be our northern entrance (I-40). We apologize for any inconvience this may cause.
 

October Programs and Event

Friday October 5 & Saturday October 6
Park Artist-in-Residence Art Show
Winslow Arts Trust Museum (333 East Second Street, Winslow, AZ, 86047)
10am-7pm
The brand-new Winslow Arts Trust Museum is celebrating its grand opening by displaying compelling, beautiful art by recent Petrified Forest National Park’s Artists-in-Residents. Visit www.winslowartstrust.org for further information.

Wednesday October 10
National Fossil Day
9am until 3pm: Demo Lab open at Painted Desert Visitor Center complex (informal, allow 15-30 min)
11am & 2pm: Paleontology Lab Tours, meet at Painted Desert Visitor Center (allow 1 hour)
1:30pm until 3:30pm: Meet a Paleontologist at Rainbow Forest Museum (informal, allow 15-30 min)
National Fossil Day is an annual family-friendly celebration held to highlight the scientific and educational value of paleontology and importance of preserving fossils for future generations. A perfect place to celebrate is right here at Petrified Forest!

Saturday October 20
Petrified Forest Marathon
5:45am – 2pm
This program is offered by the City of Holbrook, AZ and an additional fee and registration is required; see https://www.facebook.com/petrifiedforestmarathon/ for additional information. An exclusive partnership between the City of Holbrook and Petrified Forest National Park provides runners a remarkable and unique opportunity. Now in its 5th year, this run (an official Boston Marathon qualifier) winds through the heart of the park.

Saturday October 27
Ghosts of Petrified Forest: An After-Hours Tour of Painted Desert Inn
Painted Desert Inn
5:30pm
In the spirit of Halloween, join a ranger for a special tour of Painted Desert Inn to learn about its history. Don’t be scared – this family-friendly tour includes some ghost stories! Allow one hour.

Sunday October 28
In the Land of Color: Exploring the Devil’s Playground
8am – 5pm
This program is offered by Petrified Forest Field Institute and an additional fee is required; see http://www.petrifiedforestfieldinstitute.org/ for additional information. Join a day-long adventure in the unique and little-visited Devil’s Playground area of the park to explore its geology, paleontology, history, flora and fauna. Devil’s Playground is only accessible to a few people every year, and is an absolutely extraordinary landscape of bizarre eroded rock, hoodoos and badlands. This rugged 7 to 8-mile round trip hike heads through colorful rock layers and petrified wood that make this an exceptional area to explore the nature of Petrified Forest National Park.

 

November Programs and Event

Saturday November 3
Dark Skies Over Petrified Forest: A Celebration of the Night Sky
Painted Desert Inn
5:30pm - 9:30pm

Join us as we celebrate our recent designation as an official International Dark Sky Park! Presentations 5:30pm-6:30pm, followed by ongoing telescope viewing and family-friendly activities 6:30pm-9:30pm. Hot chocolate and good cheer will be in abundance! As the park normally closes at 5pm this time of year, after 5pm the park’s north entrance will remain open for access to this special after-hours event. Bring warm clothing and we look forward to seeing you here!
If you plan on entering the park though our southern entrance (HWY-180) you will need to enter BEFORE 5 pm. After 5 pm, the only access into or out of the park will be our northern entrance (I-40). We apologize for any inconvience this may cause.

Saturday November 3
Guided Backcountry Hike: Wilderness Loop
Meet at Painted Desert Inn
10:00 am

Hike into the park’s ‘Black Forest’ area to experience some of the largest and youngest (geologically speaking) petrified trees in the park. About 8 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG approximately 700 feet. Rated challenging due to length. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 4
Guided Backcountry Hike: Blue Mesa Walkabout
Meet at pullout along Blue Mesa Loop Road (once you turn off the main park road for Blue Mesa, drive 1.7 miles to the pullout)
10:00 am

A tour around a landmark in the center of the park through some of the oldest terrain with a variety of geological, paleontological, and archaeological features. Approximately 6 to 6 1/2 miles in off-trail conditions. AEG about 600 feet. Difficulty rating is moderate due to distance. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 10
Guided Backcountry Hike: Painted Desert
Meet at Tiponi Overlook
9:30 am

A venture into the Painted Desert featuring colorful badlands and scenic views. Nearly 3 1/2 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG approximately 300 feet. Rated moderate. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 10
Guided Backcountry Hike: Dead Wash Overlook
Park/meet at small paved lot just north of mile marker 7 on east side of road
1:30 pm

Hike through grasslands past Black Forest petrified wood out to an overlook of the remote Dead Wash drainage. Approximately 4 miles round trip. AEG about 475 feet. Rated difficult due to multiple ascents and descents. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 11
Fee Free Day
Throughout the park
All day

Celebrate the millions of people who have served honorably in the U.S. military, and if that includes you–thank you for your service! Hug a veteran today and all can enjoy free entry to all U.S. National Parks today (including Petrified Forest).

Sunday November 11
Guided Backcountry Hike: Titanic
Meet at The Tepees. Mile marker 14. Park at roadside pullout near Tepees.
10:00 am

Hike in some of the oldest exposed terrain in the park through other worldly landscapes. Approximately 5 ½ miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 425 feet. Rated moderate. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 17
Guided Backcountry Hike: Red Basin/Clam Beds
Meet at pullout along Blue Mesa Loop Road. Once you turn off the main park road for Blue Mesa, drive 1.7 miles to the pullout
9:30 am

Take a long hike to and through colorful geologic features, including some in recently acquired lands. Approximately 8 to 8 ½ miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 600 feet. Rated challenging due to length. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 18
Guided Backcountry Hike: Four Bridges
Meet at Painted Desert Inn
10:00 am

Hike into the Painted Desert to Onyx Bridge and three lesser-known bridges. About 6 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG is approximately 675 feet. Difficulty rating is moderate. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour adventure in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Thursday November 22 Thanksgiving Day
Guided Backcountry Hike: Onyx Bridge
Meet at Painted Desert Inn
10:00 am

Enjoy a walk to Onyx Bridge, a dramatic example of petrified wood eroding out of the Black Forest Bed of the Chinle Formation. About 4.5 to 5 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG approximately 525 feet. Rated moderate. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry and bring adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 24
Guided Backcountry Hike: First Forest Overlook
Meet at Jasper Forest Overlook
10:00 am

A varied hike through lovely petrified wood deposits onto First Forest Mesa with panoramic views of surrounding landscape. About 5.75 to 6 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 450 feet. Rated easy. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 25
Guided Backcountry Hike: Bidahochi
Meet at Chinde Point picnic area
9:30 am

A short, steep descent from the Bidahochi Formation to three oases on the Lithodendron flood plain. Visit geologic features and some of the largest petrified logs in the park. Approximately 3 ½ miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 475 feet. Rated difficult due to steep and rocky descent and ascent. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 25
Guided Backcountry Hike: Flattops Circumnavigation
Meet at unpaved pullout on south side of road between mileposts 23 and 24
1:30pm

This hike traverses a variety of terrains, past archaeological sites and colorful geologic formations. Approximately 4 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 325 feet. Rated challenging due to two steep gravelly descents. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 3
Dark Skies Over Petrified Forest: A Celebration of the Night Sky
Painted Desert Inn
5:30pm - 9:30pm

Join us as we celebrate our recent designation as an official International Dark Sky Park! Presentations 5:30pm-6:30pm, followed by ongoing telescope viewing and family-friendly activities 6:30pm-9:30pm. Hot chocolate and good cheer will be in abundance! As the park normally closes at 5pm this time of year, after 5pm the park’s north entrance will remain open for access to this special after-hours event. Bring warm clothing and we look forward to seeing you here!

Saturday November 3
Guided Backcountry Hike: Wilderness Loop
Meet at Painted Desert Inn
10:00 am

Hike into the park’s ‘Black Forest’ area to experience some of the largest and youngest (geologically speaking) petrified trees in the park. About 8 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG approximately 700 feet. Rated challenging due to length. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 4
Guided Backcountry Hike: Blue Mesa Walkabout
Meet at pullout along Blue Mesa Loop Road (once you turn off the main park road for Blue Mesa, drive 1.7 miles to the pullout)
10:00 am

A tour around a landmark in the center of the park through some of the oldest terrain with a variety of geological, paleontological, and archaeological features. Approximately 6 to 6 1/2 miles in off-trail conditions. AEG about 600 feet. Difficulty rating is moderate due to distance. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 10
Guided Backcountry Hike: Painted Desert
Meet at Tiponi Overlook
9:30 am

A venture into the Painted Desert featuring colorful badlands and scenic views. Nearly 3 1/2 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG approximately 300 feet. Rated moderate. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 10
Guided Backcountry Hike: Dead Wash Overlook
Park/meet at small paved lot just north of mile marker 7 on east side of road
1:30 pm

Hike through grasslands past Black Forest petrified wood out to an overlook of the remote Dead Wash drainage. Approximately 4 miles round trip. AEG about 475 feet. Rated difficult due to multiple ascents and descents. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 11
Fee Free Day
Throughout the park
All day

Celebrate the millions of people who have served honorably in the U.S. military, and if that includes you–thank you for your service! Hug a veteran today and all can enjoy free entry to all U.S. National Parks today (including Petrified Forest).

Sunday November 11
Guided Backcountry Hike: Titanic
Meet at The Tepees. Mile marker 14. Park at roadside pullout near Tepees.
10:00 am

Hike in some of the oldest exposed terrain in the park through other worldly landscapes. Approximately 5 ½ miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 425 feet. Rated moderate. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 17
Guided Backcountry Hike: Red Basin/Clam Beds
Meet at pullout along Blue Mesa Loop Road. Once you turn off the main park road for Blue Mesa, drive 1.7 miles to the pullout
9:30 am

Take a long hike to and through colorful geologic features, including some in recently acquired lands. Approximately 8 to 8 ½ miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 600 feet. Rated challenging due to length. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 18
Guided Backcountry Hike: Four Bridges
Meet at Painted Desert Inn
10:00 am

Hike into the Painted Desert to Onyx Bridge and three lesser-known bridges. About 6 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG is approximately 675 feet. Difficulty rating is moderate. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour adventure in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Thursday November 22 Thanksgiving Day
Guided Backcountry Hike: Onyx Bridge
Meet at Painted Desert Inn
10:00 am

Enjoy a walk to Onyx Bridge, a dramatic example of petrified wood eroding out of the Black Forest Bed of the Chinle Formation. About 4.5 to 5 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG approximately 525 feet. Rated moderate. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry and bring adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Saturday November 24
Guided Backcountry Hike: First Forest Overlook
Meet at Jasper Forest Overlook
10:00 am

A varied hike through lovely petrified wood deposits onto First Forest Mesa with panoramic views of surrounding landscape. About 5.75 to 6 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 450 feet. Rated easy. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 25
Guided Backcountry Hike: Bidahochi
Meet at Chinde Point picnic area
9:30 am

A short, steep descent from the Bidahochi Formation to three oases on the Lithodendron flood plain. Visit geologic features and some of the largest petrified logs in the park. Approximately 3 ½ miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 475 feet. Rated difficult due to steep and rocky descent and ascent. No pets please on this hike. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

Sunday November 25
Guided Backcountry Hike: Flattops Circumnavigation
Meet at unpaved pullout on south side of road between mileposts 23 and 24
1:30pm

This hike traverses a variety of terrains, past archaeological sites and colorful geologic formations. Approximately 4 miles round trip in off-trail conditions. AEG about 325 feet. Rated challenging due to two steep gravelly descents. Be prepared for a multi-hour hike in the park’s backcountry with adequate food, water, clothing, footwear, hat, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants and advance signup required; call 928-368-3821 for further information and registration.

 
Junior rangers speak with a ranger
Junior Rangers speak with Ranger Lauren

NPS

Daily Fun

Daily
Find Your Park
findyourpark.com/share
Anytime

Celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial by sharing your own story! Browse the official Find Your Park website for inspiration, then upload your own song, photo, painting, poem, dance, video – anything you’d like to share about your visit.

Daily
Geocaching
Selected locations throughout the park
During park hours

Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking virtual ‘treasure’, and anyone with a GPS device can play! There are several self-guided geocaches at Petrified Forest National Park where a hidden container can be found and a log book signed. For more information on geocaching, visit Geocaching.com.

Daily
Junior Ranger Program
Pick up a booklet at any park Visitor Center
During park hours

Junior Rangers explore, learn about, and protect their national parks! Fun activities engage young visitors at Petrified Forest and are rewarded with a badge and patch by finishing this booklet.

Daily
Junior Paleontologist Program
Pick up a booklet at any park Visitor Center
During park hours

Explore the ways paleontologists work, learn about Earth's history, and protect our national parks, including fossils and the rocks in which they are found! Earn a special paleontology badge by finishing this booklet.

Daily
Painted Desert Inn Tour
Painted Desert Inn
Anytime between 9am—4pm

Painted Desert Inn is a beautiful building with rich history and stunning views to boot. Ask any staff member in the building to give you a brief, personal tour during your visit, and if they can they will!

 
Participants in Field Institute
Dig with a paleontologist

NPS

Field Institute

Petrified Forest Field Institute is proud to offer guided tours and field classes exploring fun and compelling subjects lead by world class guides and experts.

See www.petrifiedforestinstitute.org for more. Or click here to go directly to their class schedule.

 
Cellist at Blue Mesa
Cellist at Blue Mesa

NPS

Artist-in-Residence Program

In the Artist-in-Residence Program selected artists spend time living and working in the park, sharing their experiences with visitors.

 
Navajo Rug Weavers
Navajo rug weavers

NPS

Cultural Demonstrators

The park hosts regional cultural demonstrators throughout the year, coordinated by the park's partner Petrified Forest Museum Association. Visit with the demonstrators at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark (2 miles from the north entrance of the park) between 10am and 4pm Tuesday through Saturday. Calendar is available here.

 
Paleontologist talking with visitors about fossils in the lab.
Paleontologist talking with visitors about fossils in the lab.

NPS/Hallie Larsen

Paleontology Lab Demos

Visit with the park's paleontolgists as they prepare fossils brought in from the field every Wednesday. Ask at the visitor center desk for more information.

Last updated: October 29, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Park Road, #2217
Petrified Forest, AZ 86028

Phone:

(928) 524-6228

Contact Us