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Blue Mesa Trail, AZ

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165 26 0
Guide 26 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northeast > Holbrook
Rated
3.9
3.9 of 5 by 9
 
6
Statistics
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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
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
12  2018-05-19
Petrified Forest National Park
trekkin_gecko
14  2018-05-19
Petrified Forest National Park
johnlp
12  2018-04-01
Blue Mesa Crystal Forest
chumley
3  2017-06-05 rcorfman
14  2016-06-25
Petrified Forest National Park
jochal
17  2016-05-07
Petrified Forest National Park
DallinW
34  2015-05-04
Petrified Forest NP
winotron
4  2015-04-11 leonesiegel
Page 1,  2
Author rally_toad
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 4
Photos 512
Trips 422 map ( 2,598 miles )
Age 28 Male Gender
Location Boulder City, NV
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, May, Jun
Sun  6:03am - 6:23pm
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Geology Nearby
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 great views of the Blue Palette of the Painted Desert. You can also see alot of Petrified Wood on this hike and in the Blue Mesa area.


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

The Blue Mesa trail is a relatively short 1 mile loop, however many people consider this to be "moderately strenuous" and the hardest trail in the park. However coming from the viewpoint of a serious hiker, Blue Mesa is nothing to sweat about.

Starting from the parking area there is a shade house on the left with signs 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. You will be descending off the Mesa and into the badlands below.

Still on the mesa top, you will pass through excellent examples of conglomerate rock. Conglomerate is so named because it is made up of lots of other different 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 that are forming in the badlands formed by running water after and during a 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.

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2009-08-17 rally_toad
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  • Pefo PDF - 3
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    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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Blue Mesa Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Petrified Forest National Park
john and i headed for pefo when i got off work saturday morning
stopped at the rainbow forest visitor center to get a permit (more on that later)
had to be at painted desert inn by five, so we did a quick out and back to martha's butte, the one mile blue mesa loop and a brief stop at agate bridge
two very different hikes with unique scenery, petrified wood, petroglyphs and badlands
it would have been nice to have more time for these
my first visit; will have to go back
Blue Mesa Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Blue Mesa Crystal Forest
After my Onyx Bridge hike, I opted for a few more Petrified Forest "hikes". I did the complete Crystal Forest loop, which is perhaps the least interesting of the designated park stops. I had also considered an exploration of Jasper Forest, but wasn't particularly intrigued by what I saw at the viewpoint.

Blue Mesa on the other hand -- wowsers! Simply one of the most incredible geologic sites I have ever experienced. There's a paved trail that leads through some of the basics here, but like elsewhere in PeFo, you are mostly free to explore off-trail and I made a larger extended loop away from the few tourists who ventured away from their cars. The colors here are incredible, and likely change with the weather and time of day.

This place is worth the price of admission!
Blue Mesa Trail
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Petrified Forest National Park
Made a stop at Petrified Forest National Park on my way to Colorado.

I hit up the Rainbow Forest Loop first. On returning to the beginning of the loop, I overheard a gentleman talking to a ranger asking if it was legal for him to tote his gun in the park. The ranger informed him it was legal to tote his gun, but if he discharged it he could be in trouble. The gentlemen replied: "But what if there's a mountain lion attacking me?!"

Next I hit up the Long Logs - Agate House loop. This was the longest trail I did at the park totaling a whopping 2.5 miles! The Agate house is interesting; It was built out of Petrified Wood! On the way back the loop takes you through some neat looking badlands. This was probably my favorite trail I did, you essentially get a little sampler of everything you see on the rest of the established trails.

After that, I was off to Crystal Forest. A short loop with a few good views, and Petrified Wood that has a "crystal" looking core.

Next was Blue Mesa Trail, which takes you through some bigger and nicer looking badlands.

I then checked out Puerco Pueblo. The ruins are interesting, but I thought the sun dial which was etched into a rock was pretty cool. The Pueblo people would use it in order to track the changing seasons so they knew when to plant crops. I didn't quite understand exactly how it worked, only that it was etched in the rock at a position where when the sun hit it, a "light shaft" is created that intersects a spiral at 9:00 AM.

The last hike I did was the Painted Desert Rim. The immediate area isn't very interesting, but the views of the wilderness area north of the trail is enticing. Sometime I would like to backpack the Wilderness Area north of the Painted Desert Visitor Center.
Blue Mesa Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Finally toured the park after driving by many times. Glad we planned a 2 day, one night trip with the overnight in Winslow at the La Posada Hotel. After a stop in Sedona we traveled Hwy 40 to exit 311 that takes you into the North part of the park. This area has a half dozen viewpoints of the painted desert. We always watch the film a the visitor's center! The next day we entered the park off US 180 and drove about 10 miles to Blue Mesa area so we could beat the crowd. If you only have time for one stop this is it. It as about a mile paved path in a loop with beautiful 'blue' rock formations. Then traveled south back toward visitors center stopping at Jasper Forest, Agate bride, Crystal Forest...another path walk.
Blue Mesa Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Petrified Forest NP
My girlfriend and I stayed the weekend in Pine, intending to take our first trip to Fossil Creek this day, but with a thunderstorm in the forecast, and the fact that it was already raining when we got up, we had to change our plans. We wanted to go somewhere we'd never been before, so we decided to check out the Petrified Forest. Random, I know, considering this is a good 2 hr drive from Pine, but I'm really glad we went. I didn't know much about what to expect from this place, but it was awesome! Didn't realize how big this place is and how much there is to see.

We came in from the south entrance. There were a lot of tourists but it didn't seem especially crowded, since it was a Monday. It was mostly clear when we got there, but we could see a big storm coming in from the south, and soon enough started hearing the thunder. We stopped at pretty much all of the major spots along the way through the park, and hiked all the short trails. The storm was getting closer and closer, and it started lightly raining on us on the Crystal Forest Loop.

By the time we got to the Jasper Forest overlook it started pouring on us, and the thunder was crashing right overhead. We had to get back in the car and wait it out for 20 minutes or so. Once the rain slowed down we continued up the road to the Agate Bridge. That was definitely a cool spot. With all the rain there was water flowing and actually a waterfall under the bridge. There was water flowing all over the park actually, which I'm sure was a sharp contrast to how this park normally looks.

We kept going up to Blue Mesa and that was probably my favorite spot of the day. The Blue Mesa Trail was a great, short hike. It was cool being able to actually go down into the little canyon. Like a lunar landscape down there. There were little streams of milky water flowing all over the place. Pretty much no one else down there with us.

Unfortunately we had to rush a bit by the time we got to Puerco Pueblo. It was already after 4pm and we had a 4 hr drive back home to Phoenix ahead of us. We still had time to stop at a couple of the Painted Desert vistas though. Beautiful. I would love to come back here again with more time for hiking. We stopped at the Falcon Cafe in Winslow for dinner on the way home. We'll never stop there again...

Wildflowers
Great wildflower show, which I wasn't expecting. Blankets of flowers all over the place.
Blue Mesa Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Drove a few extra miles for this little quick one mile hike. Pretty spectacular views from the top. I think I enjoyed this hike better than Rainbow Loop...

Was with my Pinetop fiend and her dog, Larry.

:)
Blue Mesa Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
This was my favorite hike of the day at the Petrified Forest. It's only a short 1 mile loop down into the blue hills but I spent well over an hour exploring the area. This is just such a different & unique landscape that I felt like I was on another planet for an hour. Very cool!!! The drive on top of the mesa coming in had a lot of places to stop for some spectacular views of the valleys below.

Permit $$
NPS

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


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Blue Mesa Road is about halfway through the park off the main park road. There 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
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