Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Petrified Forest National Park - Blue Mesa Trail

After leaving Flagstaff, Arizona, on our way to Santa Fe, we stopped at Petrified Forest National Park for a couple of hours. The park preserves the petrified remains of an ancient rainforest that once dominated this landscape. One of the largest remaining petrified logs, known as Agate Bridge, now spans a ravine. In 1917 a concrete bridge was constructed to support the 110-foot log:

The park was also once the home of Native Americans who lived in well-established pueblos:

During our visit we hiked the short, but highly interesting Blue Mesa Trail. The trail travels through badlands made of bentonite clay. The most amazing aspect of these badlands are the subdued blue and purple colors of the clay, something rarely seen in America:

Hikers will also find petrified wood throughout the hike:

Before we could finish our visit, a fast moving storm blew through the park:

Trail: Blue Mesa Trail
Roundtrip Distance: 1 Mile
Total Elevation Gain: ~150 feet
Max Elevation: ~5400 Feet
TH Location: Blue Mesa Trailhead

Hiking Northern Arizona features 120 of the best trails in this spectacular region. Included are high alpine trails near Flagstaff, as well as desert hikes in the stunning Red Rock area of Sedona. Also included are hikes near Williams, Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Jerome. Hiking Northern Arizona offers outings that are suited to day hikers and veteran backpackers alike.

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