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Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, United States - OutdoorPlaces.Com

 Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, United States, Page Four

 Blue Mesa Trail, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, United States, copyright 1999, OutdoorPlaces.Com, all rights reserved
The Blue Mesa access road heads east for about two miles before turning north into the Blue Mesa traffic loop.  Heading around the loop there are a series of scenic overlooks that view into an alien landscape.  The fourth overlook which is located at the northern most point of the scenic loop is the trailhead to the one-mile long Blue Mesa trail.

The improved paved trail descends about 100 vertical feet through a series of switchbacks.  Once you reach the base of the trail, you could easily convince yourself that you are no longer on this earth.  Almost devoid of any plant life, with exception to a few struggling cacti, it is hard to believe that anything could live here.  Make a point to hike this trail in the morning as you will be amazed by the number of lizards scurrying around on the rocks seeking a cool spot for the day.

The trail is a loop through the Blue Mesa area and provides the first up close views of petrified wood, which litters the ground and washes all through this area.  If you're looking for safe solitude this is the best place in the entire park.  The steep trail and desolate terrain keeps most people at bay.  An observation deck located on the southern rim of Blue Mesa will usually provide onlookers who will be eager to wave at the brave explorers below them.  If you arrive during the early morning hours, or the heat of the day, you will be amazed by the almost deafening silence this spot provides.  Be prepared to spend at least an hour in this area as the field of agates and amazing colors beg you to stop and savor them.  Before leaving Blue Mesa, make sure to look back upon your hike from the observation deck that is accessible from the loop road.

After leaving Blue Mesa, turn south on the main park road and head toward Agate Bridge to the east and Jasper Forest to the west.  Agate bridge has a privy station that is open only during the summer months and is home to a variety of natural features.  Jasper Forest is a flat observation area that looks across an endless sea of shattered pieces of petrified wood.  The original logs victims of time and mans intervention.  After seeing these areas you may start to become disappointed, wondering where the large deposits and huge pieces of petrified wood are hiding, but you are close to your reward on your journey through Petrified Forest National Park.

Continue your tour of Petrified Forest National Park...
 

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