Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona is an amazing place to take your children. There are many great hikes that are just right for kids. Each of them allow children to get up close and personal with the park, including the petrified wood. Click on each link to read a full review of our favorite hikes for children in Petrified Forest National Park.
Our top recommendation is a visit to the Jasper Forest. This is because there is no established trail in the forest, so you can wander wherever you wish. There is a seemingly endless amount of beautiful petrified wood in this area, but remember NO COLLECTING! Leave it in the park for all to enjoy.
This trail begins at the south Visitor Center in the park. It is a short, flat lollipop hike that leads to a pueblo made entirely of petrified wood as well as the longest petrified logs in the park. Some reach up to 40 yards! This trail is 2.5 miles RT.
This short walk is located right behind the south Visitor Center. An interpretive trail map gives information about some of the finest specimens in the park. This 0.4 mile trail only takes about 30 minutes.
The 0.75 mile trail is flat and easy. It loops through an entire forest of petrified wood. If you look closely at some samples, tiny crystals that look like salt have been mineralized as the trees were petrified.
The great thing about this trail is that it allows you to walk in the Painted Desert as well as see petrified wood. It drops below the rim of the mesa, but never becomes too steep or difficult. This 1.0 mile is our second favorite trail after Jasper Forest.
This trail is unique in the park because it is the only one that allows you to see Native American ruins. There are beautiful petroglyphs along the way. The total distance is only 0.3 mile.
The north end of the park is famous for the Painted Desert, which is characterized by beautiful stripes of color. The Painted Desert Rim Trail allows you to walk along the edge of the desert without dropping off the edge of the mesa. This trail is only 1.0 mile.