Jasper Forest

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5466 - 5571 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Jasper Forest
Fee: $20/vehicle
Attractions: Large petrified wood collection




The Jasper Forest is located in the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona. The site has a wheelchair accessible observation point as well as the opportunity for a short backcountry hike. Originally named First Forest because it was the first concentration of petrified wood that visitors to the park would come upon, Jasper Forest is one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the park.


The Jasper Forest trailhead is about 18.5 miles from the north entrance along the Petrified Forest Road.


A short wheelchair accessible path leads from the parking area to the observation point where you can look out over the valley below where the ground is covered with big chunks of petrified wood.


Those that have the time and are feeling a little adventuresome can try out some backcountry hiking and venture down into the Jasper Forest where they will be able to walk among the numerous fragments of the petrified forest.


To get down to the valley below walk back along the access road for 20 or 30 feet.


Look for a trail that drops into a small wash.


The trail is easy to follow at first but it becomes fainter as it goes. The main goal is to find the old road that led into the valley. The road isn't at all obvious at first but the gap between the hills that it goes between is.


The road that the trail follows is easy to spot in some places but for the most part it is hard to pick out. Originally the road led along the side of the valley for a little over a half mile and then made a loop around a hoodoo that has long since collapsed.


Since there is no longer a hoodoo to see it might be funner to just follow the shallow wash around the base of the hill and checkout some of the colorful chunks of petrified wood that are spread out all over the place.


All of the visible petrified wood is just what happens to have eroded out of the ground and is now upon the surface. There are places where you can see large segments of trees that are still mostly buried. The ground around this piece eroded completely away except for the pedestal that it now sits upon.


There isn't much danger of getting lost with the observation point visible from most everywhere in the valley. Sturdy hiking shoes and plenty of water would be good to keep in mind for an area like this.


A hike into the Jasper Forest will take you well away from the groups of visitors that you will find at some of the other sites. The trail is primitive and you will be mostly on your own when it comes to route finding but it is a good place to explore for those that have a little extra time. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.