Agate House

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5455 - 5483 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - Dogs (on short leash)
Time: 1 hr. 20 mins.
Facilities: Flush toilets
Trailhead: Rainbow Forest parking area
Fee: $10/vehicle or $5/person
Attractions: petrified wood pueblo, museum, gift shop
   


The Agate House Ruin is located in the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona. The Agate House may be one of the most unique pueblos that you will ever visit. The walls of the entire ruin appear to have been originally constructed about 700 years ago from petrified wood. The Agate House may have been more of a summer home that was used primarily by farmers or traders.


To access the Agate House Ruin and Long Logs trails park at the Rainbow Forest parking area and follow the signs to the east along Petrified Forest Road. After crossing the dry wash the trail will continue along the old access road.


The trailhead for the Agate House Ruin is on the west end of the paved area. The sign at the trailhead makes mention of the Long Logs trail but this path will also lead to the Agate House.


Follow the trail up the small hill and take the right fork when you come to it.


The paved trail can probably be managed by some wheelchairs if they can handle the gradual slope. The area around the actual ruins is hard packed gravel but the ruins can be well appreciated from the end of the pavement.


There are many fine specimens of petrified wood along the trail leading to the Agate House.


It's nice to come to the Petrified Forest National Park to see all of the great petrified wood but it is another thing to get to see a pueblo made of the stuff. The terms petrified wood and agatized wood are sometimes used interchangeably  Petrified wood refers to the process where the actual cells of the wood fill up with silicified water that dries up and hardens with the result being an exact replica of the original that you could slice and view under a microscope and study almost as though you were dealing with the original specimen. On the other hand, agatized and opalized wood result from the process of the agate filling the voids left as the wood decomposes thus replacing the wood. The various colors come from different minerals that are present with the silicified water.


The Agate House is a reconstruction of the original 8 room structure. The techniques used in the reconstruction would be considered sub par by today's standards.


It is always nice to see drawings that show the original layout to better imagine how the pueblo may have appeared.


It will only add about 30 minutes to your visit if you take the time to also hike the Long Logs trail before returning to the parking area.


The buildings that serve as the ranger quarters blend in well with the surrounding landscape. The compound looks like a little fort in the middle of the desert. The rangers have a big job protecting the resources of the park. There are stories of people using dynamite to obtain samples before the area was made into a monument. It is said that large amounts are still removed illegally from the park each year. Getting caught with even a small sample will cost you hundreds of dollars. There are plenty of places where petrified wood can be purchased for several dollars/pound so leave all of the pretty rocks on the ground for everyone to enjoy while you are visiting the Agate House Ruin in the Petrified Forest National Park. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.