Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park sits on the edge of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument next to a large reservoir and surrounded by a petrified forest at least a million years old. The peaceful campground (with showers) is the perfect base camp to visit the hundreds of surrounding slot canyons. Within a few hours drive is, not only the monument but Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park. This area is still largely ignored by the tourist hoards.

The trail to the petrified forest can be viewed on a 1-mile with an option .75 mile loop that has a bit of a climb with it. Definitely take the loop as that’s where the best trees are and the forest will seem a bit lame without it. This was my first experience with petrified trees and I was suitably impressed. The rings are calcified into a prism of colors. The trees are formed when the ancient pines fell over and were covered with sediment or buried like an animal bone. The organic parts of tree are replaced with silica or calcite. Some of the old stumps were five feet wide, making it fun to imagine the size of the pine forest in the barren landscape.

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Here’s a list of more parks to be explored.

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