You don’t have to go to Petrified Forest National Park to see petrified wood. Along Highway 12, north out of Bryce Canyon National Park, we stopped at Petrified Forest State Park that has some splendid examples of petrified wood. As soon as you take the trail into the hills, you begin to notice some pastel-shaded soils of green, purple and gray. It looks like someone dumped a lot of colored chalk, when in fact these hills are eroded layers of mostly shale of a geologic layer(s) known as the Chinle Formation, where petrified material is typically found. This formation is found in great abundance throughout the Colorado Plateau.
The main trail (Petrified Forest Trail) is a one-mile loop, littered with thousands of petrified wood samples, a hike that we easily fit between Bryce and Capitol Reef.