Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park preserves a forest of fossilized wood over 150 million years old. We visited the park midway into our road trip up scenic Route 12 in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It was only $8 per carload to enter the park.
There is a display at the foot of the Petrified Forest Trail which explains how the trees turned to stone. Millions of years ago, the rivers flooded, washing uprooted trees downstream which then became embedded in sediment on the riverbanks. Volcanic eruptions covered the area with ash which leached minerals into the buried trees, preserving them in stone.
The Petrified Forest Trail is a steep one mile loop up the side of a mesa. At the top, there were large pieces of colorful petrified wood scattered throughout and great views of the Wide Hollow Reservoir nearby.
The short Sleeping Rainbows Trail loops off the main trail on top of the mesa and the ranger at the entrance told us there were even better petrified wood specimens on it. But it wasn’t clearly marked and we were hot, so we gave up trying to find it and headed back to the car to continue our journey.
Grand Staircase Escalante posts:
- Grand Staircase Escalante Monument Overview
- Dixie National Forest: Red Canyon Tunnels
- Grand Staircase Escalante: Blues Overlook
- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
- Fishlake National Forest: Larb Overlook (Coming Soon)
Location: 710 Reservoir Rd, Escalante, UT 84726
Designation: State Park
Date designated or established: 1963
Date of my visit: 4/12/2017
Here is the park’s video of a newer mountain bike trail built in a different section than the trail we hiked. Views are similar to the ones we had as we climbed the mesa.