|On west-bound I-40 coming into Arizona.|
|Indian City in Allantown.|
|Entrance to the Petrified Forest National Park.|
The story of the petrified remains of trees that are millions of years old started when logs in the area were washed into the low-lying swamp that used to cover this region. As volcanoes to the west spewed tons of ash into the area, the logs were buried in the sediment. Then, water passing over the buried logs caused the silica in the ash to dissolve into the logs which replaced the cell walls and crystallized into mineral quartz. Minerals rich in iron combined with the quartz to produce the brilliant colors we see today.
|Petrified logs laying about doing what petrified logs do.|
Plan to spend at least a couple of hours driving through the park, another hour or more for the visitor centers, and then another 30 minutes or more driving west on Hwy 180 at the southern end of the park to return to I-40 and Route 66. If you do not have 1/2 a day to delay your trip, feel free to take a pass on the parks, but you may wish later you had taken the time. One more thing - don't even think about taking a piece of petrified wood from the park. There is a federal law which prohibits it, a phone number for people to call if they see someone pocketing a piece, and the park rangers will ask you if you took anything as you exit the park. If they even think you are lying, they have the right and they will require you to pull over and they will search your car. It's the right thing to do - with thousands of visitors to the park every year, if everyone took a piece of wood with them, there would soon be none left for our grand-kids to look at. Besides, there are dozens of rock shops and trading posts that will sell you a piece of wood that wasn't collected in the park. One of the shops Youngest-daughter and I stopped at had a "Buy one, get one free" sell so we both legally took back home the perfect rock we each hand picked - for about $5.
|Overlooking the Painted Desert.|
|Petroglyphs within the park are an easy hike from the road.|
|An early Route 66 roadbed cutting through the Painted Desert.|
Go to the first Route 66 entry here.
Or go to the first entry of each state: