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Petrified Forest National Park Encourages Visitors to Explore the Park Further From the Trails

While most national parks encourage visitors to stay on the designated trails, Petrified Forest National Park has a new plan. They want visitors to head “off the beaten path” for some park approved adventures.

The initiative started in 2014, but the park has expanded its off-trail adventures to eight different Off the Beaten Path guides. The plan gives visitors to this unique Arizona destination a new way to explore the park.

“The guides provide a suggested route through and to specific locations within the park,” wrote the park in their official release. “Some of the hikes follow old roadbeds, relics from a time when the park allowed vehicles to drive through the petrified wood deposits, while others take visitors into the wild badlands of the painted desert. One of the hikes follows the remains of a trail constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.”

The planned trips vary from four miles to 8.5 miles. Officials say the hikes vary in distance and difficulty, so it’s best to check in with park rangers to find which adventure best suits a visitor’s abilities. 

It’s important to note that while the park is open year-round, some of these park approved trips go through washes and other areas that weather can impact. Be prepared for your hike, bring enough food and water, and give yourself plenty of time to complete the trip.

The park is known for its colorful, petrified wood. The park also has a museum focused heavily on fossils. The federal government designated about a quarter of the park as wilderness. While many think of the park as a desert, the park is also home to grasslands. Animals in the park range from elk and pronghorn to foxes and bobcats.

Have you hiked off-trail at Petrified Forest National Park?

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