Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Crystal Forest Trail | Petrified Forest

(Last Updated On: April 26, 2019)

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.

The trail is paved the entire way.
Crystal Forest has some amazing pieces of Petrified Wood.

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.

We were fascinated by these logs that looked like they were sliced.
This log is huge! I wish the picture could show a little better how long it is.
This piece looks exactly like a piece of wood on the outside, and then crystals on the inside. It is so cool!

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.

Petrified wood has so many different colors.
We loved the large pieces of petrified wood on the Crystal Forest trail.
You can get up close and look at the petrified wood. Just don’t take any pieces home.

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.

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