Crystal Forest Trail in Petrified Forest National Park is a short flat trail that weaves among massive pieces of petrified wood. The hike is easy for everyone. The trail is also paved, which means that wheels can make it along this short loop.
Crystal Forest has its own trailhead and is located in the southern section of the park. This loop trail is only .75 mile. The soil isn’t colorful in the Crystal Forest like it is in some areas of the park, but the dull gray makes the red-brown petrified wood really stand out.
One thing we liked about this hike is the size of some of the larger logs. We paced one log out at nearly 120 feet (40 meters). Some of the logs have been perfectly fragmented as if crosscut by a saw. The rings of ancient trees more than 200 million years old are evident right in the wood. Some of the minerals making up the petrified wood in this section of the park have even crystallized, giving the Crystal Forest its name.
The loop passes many pieces of petrified wood, but make sure to stay on the trail and do not collect. Removing petrified wood from the park is unlawful. Please buy a chunk from a store in Holbrook if you must have some.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Crystal Forest Trail in Petrified Forest and would recommend it for families. For other Kid Friendly hikes in Petrified Forest, check out our list.