An easy, paved walk behind the Rainbow Forest Museum that introduces visitors to an excellent grouping of petrified trees, including some of the largest and most colorful in the National Park. A log known as “Old Faithful” measures almost ten feet wide at its base!
For first-time visitors to Petrified Forest National Park coming in from the south entrance, the Giant Logs Trail is a great introduction to what the park has to offer. The Rainbow Forest Museum (hours change seasonally) has fantastic exhibits on the park’s geology and human history, both ancient and modern.
And then, right behind the Museum, you can hop onto the Giant Logs Trail for a very quick trail that will take you right to some of the park’s choice petrified wood.
This is a very short and very easy trail to follow (although there are some sets of stairs that prevent it from being fully accessible). You’ll meander around and between some huge, extremely well-preserved petrified conifers, eventually reaching the nearly-10-foot-wide “Old Faithful” near the top of the hill right behind the museum.
After you’re done getting a good lay of the land here, consider walking through the parking area and down to the Long Logs / Agate House Trails to make this more of a full-fledged hike. And the head deeper into the park to explore even more!
Very good. The path is mostly paved and in good condition, although it is not accessible for all mobility devices due to a few sets of stairs.
There are no developed campgrounds inside Petrified Forest National Park. Backcountry camping is allowed in the Petrified Forest Wilderness Area. Free permits are required and can be obtained at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, Painted Desert Inn, and Rainbow Forest Museum up to an hour before the park closes. The Park Service has a page set up with nearby National Forest and State Park campgrounds for further information.
From Holbrook, head east on US-180 for 18.2 miles and take a left onto Petrified Forest Road. Continue for 2.4 miles and park at the lot for the Rainbow Forest Museum. The trail begins behind the museum.
With recent wildfire damage and ongoing waves of COVID-19 infections and restrictions, National Forest, National Park, and other public land closures, restrictions, or social distancing guidelines may be in-effect.
If infection rates are on the rise, please do your best to remain local for your hikes. If you do travel, please be mindful of small gateway communities and avoid as much interaction as you can. Also remember to be extra prepared with supplies so you don't have to stop somewhere outside your local community for gas, food, or anything else.
Please be sure to contact the local land management agency BEFORE you head out, as these conditions are likely to change without enough notice for us to fully stay on top of them. Thanks, and stay safe!
Click here to read the current CDC guidelines for traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.