- Website link: Petrified Forest National Park
- Cost: $20.00 per car (one week pass)
- Hiking, biking (on paved roads), backpacking, horseback riding, backcountry camping with permit
- Scenic drive
- Historic Landmarks
- Picnic areas
- Restaurant in the park
- Accommodations and restaurants in Holbrook, Arizona (30 miles west on I-40 or US Highway 180). Check out the Wigwam Motel for some Route 66 nostalgia. Here’s a link: Wigwam Motel. RV campgrounds also available in Holbrook.
- When to go: anytime, but note that summer temperatures can be very high.
Petrified Forest National Park is 208 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has a major airport. This is our starting point, so gas up the car, drop the top, and turn on some golden oldies. We’re going to get some kicks on Route 66!
⇒From Albuquerque, take I-40 west toward Gallup, New Mexico via Grants. Cross the Arizona state line and continue on I-40 to Petrified Forest National Park. Drive time between Albuquerque and Petrified Forest: 3 hours.
*Recommended hotels in Albuquerque: Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express
Campgrounds and RV parks are also available in Albuquerque.
Bonus stop: El Malpais National Monument. Website link: El Malpais. Stop by the visitor center in Grants, New Mexico then head south on Highway 53 to the monument. Entrance is free. Drive time between Albuquerque and Grants: 1 hour. Drive time between Grants and El Malpais: 30 minutes.
Bonus stop: El Morro National Monument. Only 15 minutes from El Malpais on Highway 53. Entrance is free. Website link: El Morro.
*Recommended hotel in Grants: Holiday Inn Express
RV parks are also available in Grants.
⇒From El Morrow National Monument take Highway 53 west to Highway 602 north to Gallup, New Mexico. Drive time: 1 hour.
⇒Continue west on I-40 to Petrified Forest National Park. Drive time between Gallup and Petrified Forest: 1 hour.
⇒Side Trip: Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Located 86 miles north of Grants via Highway 509. Cost: $25.00 per vehicle for a one week pass. Camping available, but no RV hook-ups. Closest hotels and restaurants are approximately 1.5 hours north of the park. Here’s the website link: Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Backtrack to Grants to resume your journey to Petrified Forest National Park. Drive time between Chaco Culure and Grants: 2 hours.
Destination: Petrified Forest National Park
This is a big park! The park road is 28 miles long and includes many pull outs and stops. Come for the scenery and the learning experience. (We also like the nostalgia of Route 66.) There are photo ops around every turn, and as you will see, the sights in the park are spectacular. Be sure to stop at the visitor centers, the Painted Desert Inn Museum, and the Rainbow Forest Museum. The park also features archaeological sites, including Puerco Pueblo, Newspaper Rock, and Agate House. Theodore Roosevelt did us all a favor when he made Petrified Forest a national monument in 1906. It became a national park 56 years later in 1962.
Below are some up-close views of the beauty of the petrified wood. Just look at those colors!
Much of the park can be seen from the car, but we highly recommend getting out, taking a hike on or off the trails (see website), and absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells this amazing place has to offer.
⇒Side trip: Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Entrance is free. Website link: Canyon de Chelly.
⇒Take I-40 east to Chambers, Arizona. At Chambers, take Highway 191 north toward Ganado, Arizona.
Bonus stop: Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Website link: Hubbell Trading Post. Cost: $5.00 per person to tour the Hubbell Home. Kids 15 and under are admitted free.
⇒Continue north to Chinle, Arizona and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Drive time between Petrified Forest and Canyon de Chelly: 1.5 hours.
This concludes our trip to Petrified Forest National Park. Thank you for joining us, and we hope you enjoyed the journey. We would love to hear from you, so leave us a comment and tell us about your road trips. In closing, we are leaving you with one last photo because it reminds us of a vintage postcard that might have been found in a Route 66 curio shop back in the day!
Until the next trip…
Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.
Mike and Kellye
As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.