Utah State Parks Blog

Park of the Week: Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Camping spots nestled in red and green hills set against a blue sky, canoeing on the clear waters and hiking along nature trails through a petrified forest. Sounds great right? Well, you can expect this, and more, when visiting Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Several trails wind through the 1,350 acre park, and visitors can often be seen walking along while gazing out at nature’s wonders. The most popular route is the Petrified Forest Trail – a one-mile loop winding through lava flows, as well as thousands of pieces of petrified wood. The Sleeping Rainbow Trail is an additional three-quarter-mile loop just off of this popular path, but is much steeper and does require hikers to climb over large rocks.

Petrified wood is the name given to the remains of trees or other vegetation that have gone through the permineralization process. This happens when the wood becomes buried underground and preserved due to the lack of oxygen. What is so cool about petrified wood is that – unlike a traditional fossil – this one is a three-dimensional representation of the original organism.

Remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints, especially when it comes to petrified wood. Not only is it a crime to remove things like petrified wood from the park, many people believe that removing petrified wood from its home could end with the thief being cursed. Don’t believe us? Check out KSL’s investigation into the matter.

Petrified wood can be found spread throughout the whole park.

Petrified wood can be found spread throughout the whole park.

While the petrified wood in the park varies in size and shape, there is one piece that causes all others to pale in comparison. In 2014, the park brought in a 50-foot petrified tree; adding just one more reason to visit. The entire tree is accessible to all visitors and can be viewed from its roots to the tip.

The park is open and welcomes campers. Within the facility, you’ll find full restrooms, boat launch ports, fire pits, grills, and showers. Stop by the visitor’s center to ask any questions or just to say hello and share your stories with us.


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