The name Petrified Forest comes from the large deposits of petrified (turned to stone) wood. The park is desert and badlands. It has been a park since 1962 to protect the petrified wood. Activities include hiking and backpacking as well as sightseeing and photography. It is known for fossilized fallen trees from the late Triassic period of 225 mya
It is part of the Colorado plateau which also includes other great parks such as Arches, Canyonlands and the Colorado National Monument.
The area was inhabited at least 8000 years ago and the park is active with more than 600
There are over 400 species of flora including more than 100 species of grass as well as flowering grasses such as sagebrush, evening primrose and Mariposa lily. Some trees and shrubs can be found including willows and cottonwoods,
Animal life includes pronghorns, jackrabbits, coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, foxes and prairie dogs as well as various rodents, reptiles and insects including scorpions, bats, 216 species of bird
Much of the park is located within the Painted Desert which gets its name from the colorful Chinle, the area is susceptible to erosion due to the lack of vegetation and is make up of cliffs, gullies, mesas and buttes.
The Painted Desert is comprised of badlands in the Four Corners area where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado come together. The desert is made up stratified layers of soft rock including limestone, shale, and siltstone. The various colors in the layers come from various mineral.