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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
161.00 ft (49.07 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.90 mi (4.67 km)
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Petrified Forest National Park offers some less-traveled backcountry routes, complete with small route maps and trail descriptions/directions. Taking one of these trips can be a real adventure and offers the opportunity for solitude and a sense of vast spaces that the paved trails like Crystal Forest or Giant Logs just cannot provide. The Jasper Forest route is a beautiful choice, but it can be a bit tricky to follow the park's recommended route. Due to the openness of the country and the visibility of the starting overlook, it is difficult to get lost here.

From the Jasper Forest overlook, the route ahead is mostly visible. There is a faint trail heading due east toward the main park road along the rim of the canyon. This path will drop until it is easy to turn northwest into the canyon floor. The original gravel 1930s park road is faintly visible here as a wide slope of small, smooth stones, and this is the track to follow. There is a small wash next to the old road, and following that will lead out into the flats and away from the park's described route (which is a fun area to explore too, just not the route the park's sheet describes). The old roadway is very faint and hard to follow in many spots, but  the park handout shows the route well. It basically follows a level track around the hills to the north until it winds into a small box canyon. The original road's culverts are visible all along the way and make a good guide, as do the occassional lines of rocks along the old roadway. The destination of the park's route is a rock formation that used to have a balancing rock on top called Eagles Nest Rock, but it has since fallen down. Any point on the route can be a turning point for the hike.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful badlands landscape. Amazing views. Lots of petrified wood.

Cons

Route finding is a challenge.

Trailhead Elevation

5,529.00 ft (1,685.24 m)

Highest point

5,529.00 ft (1,685.24 m)

Features

Historically significant
Geologically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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