Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Blue Mesa Trail | Petrified Forest

(Last Updated On: April 25, 2019)

Blue Mesa Trail is a beautiful one mile hike in Petrified Forest National Park. The trail allows you to drop down from the rim of the mesa and walk amongst the Painted Desert and the petrified wood. Though neither particularly steep or long, this trail is still a beautiful walk in the national park.

Mom loved the purple of Blue Mesa. It’s her favorite color!

Petrified Forest National Park has two sections: The Painted Desert in the north and the petrified wood in the south. Because of where Blue Mesa is located it has the best of both sections. This trail allows you to walk down in the Painted Desert. Deep purple dirt in beautiful bands decorates the hills. In addition, there are pieces of petrified wood, mostly in large chunks, strewn in each little draw and around the floor of the gulch.

The trail wanders through lots of petrified wood in the bottom of the Painted Desert.
The petrified wood pieces are colorful and beautiful.

The trail starts at the final parking area on the Blue Mesa. It winds down to the valley floor before splitting into a loop. You can take either direction, but we always choose the right. The trail at the bottom is flat and easy, and the distance for the entire hike is only 1.0 mile. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, hats, and water, though, because there is no shade and the desert floor seems to trap the heat. There is a small climb out of the desert floor at the end of the trail, but most families can easily handle it.

The trail is begins with a walk along the top of the mesa.
The trail is seemingly paved, but there is a steep drop to the bottom floor.
The Blue Mesa in the Painted Desert has beautiful purple hues.
The desert is incredibly beautiful, but different from Utah’s red rock.
There is a small climb out at the end of the hike. Take it slowly.

Blue Mesa Trail is an easy hike if you’d like to be in the Painted Desert and see petrified wood at the same time. It was one of our favorites when visiting Petrified Forest National Park. Check out our list of Kid Hikes in Petrified Forest National Park for other ideas on where to hike.