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Petrified Forest Nature Trail, UT

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Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
2.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 2.19 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,976 feet
Elevation Gain 256 feet
Accumulated Gain 600 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.19
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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Inaugural Calculation next Tap
15  2018-10-18
100 Hands - EPFSP - Mossy Cave
4  2016-09-30 TheMazzicMan
28  2013-09-30 kingsnake
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar
Sun  7:08am - 5:15pm
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Official Route
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Nearby Area Water
Traverse of the Kaiparowits Plateau
Traverse of the Kaiparowits Plateau
1.6 mi away
78.0 mi
Hell's Backbone Scenic Backway
2.3 mi away
38.0 mi
3,300 ft
Twentymile Wash Dinosaur Megatrackway
7.0 mi away
2.5 mi
250 ft
Hole In the Wall Road
7.1 mi away
56.0 mi
800 ft
The Pine Creek Box Trail
8.7 mi away
8.8 mi
1,300 ft
Upper Escalante River
9.5 mi away
13.8 mi
Covered Wagon Natural Bridge
Covered Wagon Natural Bridge
9.5 mi away
1.0 mi
175 ft
Cedar Wash Arch
Cedar Wash Arch
9.9 mi away
1.5 mi
200 ft
Boulder Mail Trail
Boulder Mail Trail
11.3 mi away
15.0 mi
2,434 ft
100 Hands
100 Hands
11.5 mi away
0.6 mi
220 ft
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
scared to death
by kingsnake

Overview: Unlike the petrified forest east of Holbrook, this petrified forest actually is a current forest as well. There is a short interpretive loop off the parking lot, but the main attraction is the longer (but not long) Petrified Forest Trail lasso, with an option to three quarters of a mile via the Trail of Sleeping Rainbows.

Hike: It's short, so there is not really much to describe. Other than a petrified conifer, and some volcanic bombs, the Petrified Forest Trail does not have much to it. The really good stuff is on the Trail of Sleeping Rainbows, which is the way I will describe it. We'll go counter-clockwise. Make sure you bring your Nature Trail Guide so you can identify the numbered highlights.

From the parking lot, head south up some short switchbacks. (Park staff may have told you this is "moderate to strenuous", but for most HAZers not so much.)

When you reach the top of the plateau, at a half mile, you will have a great view south of Escalante and, in the far distance, the Kaiparowits Plateau. Two hundred yards further along are the first specimens of petrified wood, including what appears to be a nearly full trunk (though it is not intact). Not far past that is the beginning of the Trail of Sleeping Rainbows, with dire warning signs. Ignore them; continue on.

The Trail of Sleeping Rainbows descends towards the edge of a small box canyon, then back up to rejoin the main trail only a few yards from where they split. This extension has more specimens than you can shake a (petrified) stick at. The most common colors are ochre, brick red and brown, with some grey. I did not see any green, blue, purple, etc.

After the trails rejoin is small field of volcanic bombs, ejected from Boulder Mountain, which is 18 miles north. (And, post explosion, more of a plateau than a mountain.)

Just before the loop closes is the park's prize attraction, a petrified conifer with identifiable rings.

From there it's down the switchbacks back to the trailhead.

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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Information is listed below

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From the Interagency Visitor Center, on the far west side of Escalante, go a mile west to Reservoir Rd. Turn right (north), passing through a ranch for about three quarters of a mile to the park entrance. After paying the fee $6 fee ($3 for Utah residents over 62), parking is on the right. Camping spots are available near the reservoir, $16 for tents, $20 for water/electrical RV hookup. Group rates available. Fees as of September, 2013. Note that tent camping spots in town also run $16. Other than designated spots, camping is not allowed in the park. Fishing, swimming and boating is allowed at the reservoir.
page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Oct 06 2013 5:18 am
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