Every tourist destination has its attractions. However, because every tourist is different, these attractions have greater or lesser value. In this series Gary gives his reasons for traveling to a particular place. Hopefully some of his thoughts will entice you to consider adding this particular location to your itinerary. The entire series is being categorized under the heading, “Spotlights.” However, you may find more about these locations in the archives of this website, under headings such as, “Great Places,” “Things to Do in,” “Best of,” “Top 10” and “Places of a Lifetime.” In addition, “Walking Tours” of many of these destinations may be available for purchase on the website for the low price of $1.49 each.
Petrified Forest National Park lies in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border. The park preserves a multitude of petrified trees from the Triassic Period of the Earth’s geology. The trees were buried under tons of material for millions of years so that the wood was invaded by silicates, crystallizing into quartz, a process known as petrification. Tectonic forces uplifted the region about 60 million years ago, exposing the petrified trees. This area is part of a geologic feature known as the Chinle Formation, characterized by colorful sandstone and is affectionately called the Painted Desert. Include Petrified Forest National Park in your southwestern USA itinerary for at least the following reasons:
1. Petrified wood is fascinating. A close look often reveals the tree’s cells, converted to colorful rock.
2. The Painted Desert is a colorful region of “badlands.” Layers of different colored stone form dune-like mounds.