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Blue Mesa Trail, AZ

Guide 29 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 5,630 feet
Elevation Gain -210 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.05
Backpack No
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6  2022-04-08 LindaAnn
8  2022-04-08 Tortoise_Hiker
7  2021-04-04 BiFrost
12  2018-05-19
Petrified Forest National Park
14  2018-05-19
Petrified Forest National Park
12  2018-04-01
Blue Mesa Crystal Forest
3  2017-06-05 rcorfman
14  2016-06-25
Petrified Forest National Park
Page 1,  2,  3
Author rally_toad
author avatar Guides 22
Routes 5
Photos 512
Trips 461 map ( 2,957 miles )
Age 31 Male Gender
Location CA
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Preferred Mar, Apr, May, Jun
Sun  5:25am - 7:25pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Hike through Blue Badlands
by rally_toad

The Blue Mesa area of Petrified Forest National Park is a very beautiful and scenic part of the park. It takes a hike through some very cool examples of badlands and offers excellent views of the Blue Palette of the Painted Desert. You can also see a lot of Petrified Wood on this hike and in the Blue Mesa area.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not collect Petrified Wood or other resources from the park. I want there to be Petrified Wood still here when I come to visit with my grandkids.

The Blue Mesa trail is a relatively short 1-mile loop. People consider this to be "moderately strenuous" and the most arduous trail in the park. However, coming from the viewpoint of a serious hiker, Blue Mesa is nothing to sweat.

Start your challenging hike from the parking area. A shade house on the left has signage about the trail and information about the park. You have good views of the Painted Desert, and from here, you can probably see people on the trail below you. The trail descends off the Mesa and into the badlands below.

Still, on the mesa top, you will pass through excellent examples of conglomerate rock. A conglomerate is so named because it comprises many other types of rocks (just like a conglomerate of the business world is made of several different smaller businesses). This rock is cool because you can see the smaller rocks and pebbles that make up the whole thing. You begin the descent and get some good views of cracks forming in the badlands created by running water after and during rain. You will also see a good example of a chimney just off the trail to the right. A chimney is a large hole that you don't want to fall in that forms in many of the badlands hills. If you fall in one when you are by yourself, you will have some trouble getting out.

You finally reach the bottom and come to the loop part of the hike, turn right and hike the loop. You get great views of the bentonite clay hills and will see some Petrified Wood as well. Somewhere around the Blue Mesa area are the dying fields, where vertebrate fossils from the Triassic period abound. However, I will not post its exact location online.

After you finish the loop, you come to the point when you must start climbing. This is why park staff will tell you that this hike is "moderately strenuous". Run up the hill, return to your car, and go enjoy the rest of the park.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-08-17 rally_toad
  • Pefo PDF
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    Pefo PDF
  • Pefo PDF - 2
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    Pefo PDF - 2
  • Pefo PDF - 3
    area related
    Pefo PDF - 3
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 $$

Petrified Forest National Park
$20 per car (for 7 days), Bike/Walk-in $10 Petrified National Forest

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Blue Mesa Road is about halfway through the park off the main park road. The turnoff is well signed, drive the Blue Mesa Road and park at the pullout by the sun shelter to start the hike.
page created by rally_toad on Aug 17 2009 2:21 pm
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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