After a short stop at El Malpais National Monument, we drove to reach Petrified Forest National Park at least an hour before the sunset.
We reached the southern entrance of the park an 1.5hrs before sunset and the park was closing at 5PM. The rangers insisted that after 5PM, if we are still inside the park, we should immediately start driving out.
From south to north, one can drive through stopping at multiple view points for pictures. There are lot of hikes, but we didn’t have time to hike and enjoy the park. Made a mental note to come back.
It is worth stopping at every point mentioned in the park map. But, give yourself at least 4 hours to enjoy the views.
Some of the view points require short hikes and since we were rushing, decided to skip a few points in an effort to see the petrified forest area.
The petrified trees are just amazing in colors after they crystalize. (Can you believe these are real trees, that have been sitting there crystalizing ?!) The artists palette like colors found in nature is worth spending hours to appreciate the patterns.
Right after the sunset, a ranger drove through to warn people to leave the park. They really try to make sure people don’t take pieces of the petrified wood.
Next time we get to visit Arizona, we intend to hike the rim trails and stay for sunset at the souther side. Since the sunset at the desert intensifies the red color.