NPS Photo / Andrew V Kearns

Natural science in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park.

August 24, 2012

Eastern Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park abounds with fossilized trees and bizarre rock formations. Best known around the world for its Late Triassic fossils, the park’s 52,000 designated wilderness acres also offer endless opportunities for hikes (leashed dogs are allowed), horseback riding, backpacking, and bird-watching. It’s open all year, making it’s convenient for spring, summer, and winter breaks.

La Posada Hotel

This restored 1920s Spanish-Colonial property, filled with antique hand-carved Mexican furnishings and hammered-tin mirrors. The on-site Turquoise Room restaurant is known for its upscale southwestern cuisine.

Painted Desert Scenic Drive

Drive the park’s 28-mile Painted Desert Scenic Drive, stopping for short hikes and photo ops along the way. Don’t miss the ruins of the 100-room, circa-1400 Puerco Pueblo, or Jasper Forest’s vast valley of fallen petrified logs.

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