Many people don't realize how much there is to do at Petrified Forest National Park! There is something to interest everyone here. Be sure to check our Calendar to see if something special is happening the day you will be here.
Things To Do
Winter in Arizona is often misunderstood. Most think of the mild temperatures and palm trees of the Phoenix area or the low desert around Quartzite. Nearly half the state is higher than 4000’, opening up the possibility of lower temperatures and snow. Over the last few years, precipitation has been less than average in some areas, but cold is not unusual. If you come to Petrified Forest, the lowest elevation in the park is 5000’ so be prepared for winter conditions, both in driving and exploring. When the sun is out and the wind low or nonexistent, it can be practically warm! However, just be ready for ice on the roads and wear layers of clothing so you can peel to comfort.
Snow is beautiful in the Painted Desert. The moisture makes the colors of the rock, including petrified wood, saturated and rich. The white is starkly lovely against red badlands. It can also make the clay of the hills impassible. Be very careful about parking in some of the unpaved pullouts and walking cross-country. The bentonite can make footing very slippery and/or sticky. Snow melt or rain also fills washes, so take precautions if crossing a watercourse. Inversion layer can develop if there is precipitation or humidity. That is an amazing sight in the Painted Desert. Still be careful driving the road if there is mist. Be good to yourself and drink plenty of water. The cooler temperatures may make you less thirsty, but we are still very dry. Rehydrate!
Don’t miss discovering Petrified Forest National Park during the winter. There are less people; you may have a trail to yourself. Most of the maintained trails are graveled or paved making it easy to walk through the area. The viewpoints will be even more spectacular. The appearance of the park is even more surreal (Mars with snow?) and beautiful. Enjoy exploring with some winter know-how.
Hit the Road
Hit the Trail
Dogs and Other Critters
Last updated: December 24, 2017