We’re taking you to Arizona on a two-day road trip from Saguaro National Park to Petrified Forest National Park. These are two amazing desert parks that don’t require a lot of hiking, but each have a unique layout with one-of-a-kind sights to take in. You can expect to hear about the interesting petrified wood logs-turned crystals, the best scenic overlooks in both parks, and how to navigate both sides of Saguaro. If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon National Park, then you’ll want to hear this episode and add these amazing national parks onto your trip too.
Saguaro National Park to Petrified Forest National Park – Episode Transcript
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re taking you on our weekend road trip to and Petrified Forest National Parks and Arizona.
4 (1m 7s):
When we think of Arizona national parks, most people probably think of the grand canyon and rightfully so. It’s an icon of a state, but Arizona has two other amazing unique national parks that are not to be missed and overlooked.
2 (1m 23s):
This was not a squad trip, but it was a weekender instead that Jamal and Brittany took, I’ve heard so much about this trip. So I’m super excited for them to share it with you guys too. These parks weren’t even on my radar until I heard about them from Jamal and Brittany. Now they’re high, high, high up. And by the way, when I said, Ooh, that was because Brittany said Petrified Forest,
4 (1m 46s):
But it’s not really too spooky.
2 (1m 47s):
Okay. Wow. I’m excited. Take us through it.
3 (1m 50s):
So which looks like it’s pronounced Cigarro, but it’s not as well as the Petrified Forest National park are really unique places. And each of them are unique for their own reasons. Solaro national park is in the Southern part of Arizona and it’s home to some amazing cacti. These cacti can grow to be over 40 feet tall and they are so cute. And the Petrified Forest has really unique geological wonders where it’s ancient trees have actually been petrified and turn to stone.
4 (2m 20s):
And when you said those cacti were cute, Kim, were you impressed by their girth and their length?
3 (2m 25s):
Absolutely. The protrusions.
1 (2m 29s):
3 (2m 31s):
But since this wasn’t a squad trip and the two of you went on this trip together. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got there and, and some basic info for all of us?
1 (2m 39s):
Yeah. So we actually flew into Phoenix and Phoenix is about two and a half hours from Tucson, which is right near Sawako national park. And the park actually gets its name from the very large saguaro cactus that are native to the Sonoran desert. And they don’t naturally grow anywhere else. And these tactile are huge. They’re the size of trees. Like Kim said, they can grow up to 40 feet tall. They can live up to 250 years.
3 (3m 8s):
You said that they look like trees, or they grow as tall as trees, but are cacti trees. Technically
4 (3m 14s):
They’re not really trees, but it’s almost like Joshua tree national park. They’re actually trees, but they look like cacti in turn. So I feel like these are really cacti that actually look like trees. So it’s almost that kind of opposite
3 (3m 29s):
Of the tree.
4 (3m 29s):
Yes. In a way, I guess, but different family.
2 (3m 33s):
Okay. I think one of the most fascinating things is that a Solaro cactus can take 50 to 100 years to grow an arm. When you guys told me that I was just like, that’s crazy. That’s a long ass time.
4 (3m 44s):
Yeah. I mean, they live up to 250 years as we were saying, their average lifespan is about 150, but when these grow and that’s something that’s really cool and we’ll get to it when we talk about actually getting to the park, but they give you information of the life cycle of the CAC die. And it pretty much starts as one giant protrusion tall. And then eventually it will form little buds and sprouts and create those arms. So it can have like one sprout, two sprouts, multiple sprouts. And obviously the more that it has, and then it becomes this really unique feature. And they’re just really incredible to look at. I mean, they are the largest CAC die.
4 (4m 24s):
I mean, when you think of cacti, you think of a little small ones in the desert, but these are like the giant, really big ones. And Mike Britney was saying to nowhere else in the world, do they grow naturally other than in the Sonoran desert?
2 (4m 35s):
Yeah. When I think about cacti, I think about Brittany and Kim’s trip to Joshua tree where you guys bought cacti for a dollar because they were so,
3 (4m 42s):
And finding a new dig your own Keck dive for 59 cents.
2 (4m 45s):
Even better. I’m thinking to myself, what does a tiny little,
4 (4m 49s):
Yeah. They’re like the size of a little gallbladder or something, right? No, these are like 40 feet tall. I mean, they’re just massive and impressive
1 (4m 57s):
Stand next to them. So we have a few tips for saguaro because it’s in the desert June and July are very hot months. So that probably wouldn’t be the best month to visit. It’s actually probably better to visit November through March due to the cooler climate. But the one downfall to that is it’s more of a busy season because more people are going to enjoy the cool weather while you’re there.
3 (5m 20s):
Now, how busy is it like compared to busy national parks? Like the grand canyon.
1 (5m 24s):
It’s not busy when Jamal and I went, we actually went in November and the start of their busy season. And we felt like we had a lot of the park to ourselves. Right?
4 (5m 35s):
Yeah. But you have to keep in mind too. Sawako national park is actually between the city of Tucson. Originally. They were just normal protected areas like on the outskirts to the east and the west of Tucson. And eventually they became national parks. So interestingly enough, it’s actually in two separate sections that don’t connect, but you know, right. Dab in the middle of it is the big giant city of, so I’m imagining the majority of their visitors are actually like locals and natives really to the area, not so big because again, like we were saying earlier, most people, if they’re going to Arizona national parks, they’re probably going to grand canyon. So not terribly busy, but it’s right. Dab in the middle, like right by a big city too. So it probably gets that traffic as well.
1 (6m 15s):
And then if you guys want to visit in April through June, the cacti bloom. And so that’s another draw to the park as well. The only downside we thought is that there are rattlesnakes in the area.
3 (6m 26s):
Did you see one when you were there?
1 (6m 28s):
We did not.
3 (6m 29s):
Did you hear it rattling around?
4 (6m 31s):
We definitely did not know, but you know, they rest assured are out there. I mean, it’s the middle of the desert. I mean, there’s even a lot of rattlesnakes here in San Diego. A lot of people don’t realize that too. So I can only imagine out in the desert and more aired climate. There’s lots of them. We didn’t encounter them. So that was the good news, but do be mindful of that. And again,
2 (6m 49s):
I think that the rattlesnakes match the CAC cacti in terms of size.
4 (6m 53s):
I definitely do not think that at all
2 (6m 57s):
40 foot rattling.
4 (6m 58s):
No. I mean, there were going to range between a two to three feet and on the large size five feet. So they got that
3 (7m 4s):
Huge. Are you serious? Five feet?
4 (7m 8s):
Well, that’s on the large, large, and normally they’re like two to three feet. But in terms of if a Solara was 40 feet, then no, they don’t rival anywhere near. Right.
2 (7m 17s):
I mean, that’s bigger than Brittany’s mom. I don’t even know if it’s bigger than
3 (7m 21s):
I had no idea they were that big. I thought they were like two feet. Yeah.
4 (7m 25s):
Did they can, I’m saying on the abnormal side of large, they can be five feet.
2 (7m 29s):
So watch out for the rattlesnakes, but moving right along.
4 (7m 31s):
Yes. And so again, it’s the desert. So another tip do be sure to have sunscreen, even if you’re going during the cooler seasons, Arizona’s an arid climate. You’re still going to have that sunshine on you, even if the weather is cooler. So definitely do protect yourself because you are out in the middle of the desert.
1 (7m 49s):
And even though the cacti are so tall, they don’t provide a lot of shades. So don’t count on
4 (7m 53s):
And they’re as tall as trees, but they like trees. Let’s put it that way.
2 (7m 56s):
So plenty of water as well with you and maybe for Jamal some Alovera
4 (8m 2s):
Yes. I mean, you know, I need to protect myself when I’m out there. Yes.
1 (8m 6s):
So like Jamal said, there are two separate areas of the park. The first area is the Tucson mountain district. And it’s also known as the Western district and it has a denser cacti population. So that’s kind of one of the big draws to that area. And the other district is called the Rincon mountain district, which is the Eastern district. And it has lesser cacti population, but it has the beautiful recon mountains as a backdrop. And it only takes an hour to drive between the two areas. So if you’re in the area and you’re visiting, it’s worth visiting both sides, which is exactly what we did.
4 (8m 40s):
Yeah. You definitely got to see them both if you’re there. That’s for sure. I mean, these parks in general are not more than a one day adventure between both sides of them. So you should definitely check out both that’s number one. And one thing that we forgot to mention just as well is, you know, there is over 165 miles of hiking trails within the park itself, but again, it’s the desert. So how much hiking do you really want to do? A lot of the trails, which we’re about to go over are actually designed for you to drive through the desert. And they are actually paved and are longer drive trails, and you can see the scenery stay comfortable and the air conditioning of your car. But if you do like to be rugged, some of those hundred 65 miles of trails between both sides of the park can be written on horseback, or you can actually ride on bikes.
4 (9m 28s):
So depending on how adventurous you want to be, those are definitely options for you to do out there in the desert. Did
2 (9m 33s):
You guys ride the horse?
4 (9m 34s):
We definitely did not. I did not cowboy it up in Arizona. I know
1 (9m 39s):
We took the comfortable route in our car for the majority of it. So when we were in the Western district, which is also known, like I said, the Tucson mountain district, we did do the HEDA loop drive and it’s a six mile scenic loop through the mountain district. And it offers super incredible views of the Sonoran desert vistas. And it has lots of pull offs for hiking, but one squad tip Is to know that you need to drive it counter-clockwise and lies that just so that you get the amazing views in that direction. And so you also don’t get traffic from any oncoming cars because it’s very narrow.
4 (10m 16s):
Yeah. And what’s really cool is, I mean, these cacti, the , they are spread across certain areas all across Arizona, really. But when you get down here, they’re in such high concentration. So even, you know, if you’re flying into Phoenix and driving the two and a half hours that it takes to get to Tucson, you know, you are going to see these OCAC die along the interstate and you think, wow, I mean, there’s so many of them, it’s impressive, but then you get there and you just really see the high concentration that’s in there. And just like, oh my God, like, I didn’t realize there could be so many when I already saw so many just on the road. It’s quite impressive to see.
2 (10m 51s):
It sounds fascinating. And like truly, truly,
4 (10m 53s):
I mean, it really is. And I don’t even want to fall into like a CAC that’s, you know, one foot tall. I mean, could you imagine if you take a wrong step and these dense little cacti forest and you’re falling into like two inch, three inch long needles of that cactus, that’s littered all over it. It’s not good.
2 (11m 8s):
Yeah. Because you know what, when you get 40 foot cacti, you get some big ass needles that you’re not, you’re not going to find those types of needles on 59, sit, dig your own cat.
1 (11m 18s):
And you’re not. So at one of the turnouts, we were able to actually hike a hike called valley view overlook hike. And it was a very short height. It’s less than a mile round trip, but it offers really spectacular views of the Socorro forest. And you just can really get up close with the CAC die. And it’s just amazing to be photographed next to this towering cacti right next to you. We got some really great pictures and it was just so beautiful out there in the desert.
4 (11m 46s):
Yeah. It’s really nice to actually do that. I can get out of the car and actually be amongst them. It’s really interesting. You see them and you realize that they’re large. And I would almost give it the same analogy of when you look at an airplane when you’re at the terminal looking out like, you know, it’s big, but it doesn’t really look big. And then you see somebody standing next to it and then you realize, oh shit, man, that thing’s actually really huge. That’s what it was like when you were by the CAC die, when you’re able to do the hike on the valley view overlook. And so I do recommend like, even if it’s a hot day, when you go, it’s such a short roundtrip hike, do it and actually get out amongst them in the desert.
2 (12m 24s):
Did you guys touch the needles at all?
4 (12m 26s):
Like of course I attempted to touch them. Why wouldn’t I
2 (12m 28s):
4 (12m 30s):
Yeah. Well, it didn’t kill the cat this time, but I definitely did feel the prick it’s mighty painful. Yeah.
1 (12m 36s):
And also see when a cactus is dying, how fibrous and dense the insides are. And it’s actually really interesting to see.
4 (12m 44s):
Yeah. You wouldn’t think that, but yeah. I mean, it almost looks like shredded paper when it’s dying and you can see the opening of it. It’s really cool and unique.
2 (12m 51s):
What makes a cat cafe
4 (12m 52s):
Die old age? Not enough water. I don’t know. I’m not a plant biologist.
2 (12m 57s):
Well, I’m just, I’m just thinking, oh, that’s so sad. You know, like to have its sister right next to you dying.
4 (13m 2s):
Well, they live a long life, 250 years. It has to happen sometime. I guess
2 (13m 6s):
That is a pretty long life.
3 (13m 8s):
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4 (13m 24s):
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1 (13m 38s):
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1 (14m 13s):
Another hike that we did with called the signal hill trail, and it’s very short as well. It’s only a half a mile round trip, but you walk over to a nice viewpoint and there are actually petroglyphs on one of the rocks and you can see those, which that’s cool. It’s really cool to see.
4 (14m 29s):
Kim said, that’s cool. So I know she knows what petroglyphs are. Zayna do you putting you on the spot? Yes.
2 (14m 34s):
Yes. It was at the valley of fire state park and Nevada. It was like emojis before emojis.
4 (14m 42s):
Yeah. It was like ancient writing with pictures before there was actually written languages. So like there caveman style writings on rocks. Yeah. And so they have them out here and I found that to be like so impressive. And you know, you’ve mentioned valley of fire, which is a state park in Nevada by Vegas, out in the desert kind of same, like, right. Yeah.
3 (15m 2s):
Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me that they’re there being that they were at the valley of.
4 (15m 5s):
Yeah. And then, but you just really think about it and you’re just like, holy crap, man. Like when I’m there and in someplace so hot, I think to myself. Okay. Yeah. There’s the luxury of AC now of days. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there and have it be so hot, like all the time. And yet these ancient cultures like lived and thrived in the desert with no AC, no shade. It’s like, what did they do to survive? And the fact that they actually have that out there, I find to be so amazing. It’s humbling when you’re out there. You think, look at all these ancient cultures and how they survived out here in the desert amongst it
3 (15m 35s):
Definitely explains the loin cloth as the tire.
4 (15m 38s):
Yeah, I guess it does.
1 (15m 40s):
And these petroglyphs are over 800 years old and they were drawn by the Hohokam,
4 (15m 46s):
But that’s pretty much the west side of national park. Then you’re going to make your way over to the east side. You’re going to make your way through the city of Tucson. Maybe make a stop, maybe get lunch. I don’t know. That’s up to you.
3 (15m 59s):
Did you guys stop or would you recommend anything in Tucson while you’re on your way to the other side,
1 (16m 4s):
We had actually drove in that morning, so we didn’t do any stops in Tucson. We just drove right through to the other side.
4 (16m 10s):
Yeah. Cause we had flown into Phoenix in the morning, rented the car, drove the two and a half hours south to Tucson to do that. And then afterwards we were going to be driving north to get to the other national park, which we’re going to talk about a little bit later. So we didn’t really allow ourselves time to just make a pit stop in Tucson to check it out.
2 (16m 28s):
I know cause a movie quote Tucson, here we come. Woo.
4 (16m 33s):
Is that really a Michelle? I knew that, well, you know what? I don’t know what Tucson really has to offer, but I can tell you this. I enjoyed what nature Tucson had to offer, which was SOA national park. And it did not disappoint.
2 (16m 44s):
It sounds amazing. And you know what? I can’t get over the fact that you said how, you know, people used to live out there. And part of me wonders, like I know it had to have been hot. I know that. But at the same time, do you think that it could have been cooler due to the global warming that we’re experiencing that
4 (16m 60s):
Not much cooler? I think it was still a desert, but you know, I dunno.
1 (17m 5s):
So the Eastern portion of the park is called the Rincon mountain district and we did the cactus forest drive and it’s an eight mile paved scenic loop through this Oro east area. And it’s only a one way a trail and it starts and ends at the visitor center. And it has really amazing views of the Sonoran desert and again, the saguaro cacti. And it has a lot of pullouts for photography, picnicking, walking, hiking so much to see and do in this area as well.
4 (17m 33s):
Yeah. And while the cacti aren’t as dense on the Eastern side here, it really does give you better views of the desert. So not that you didn’t really see and realize you’re in the desert on the Western side, but this gives you just a more dramatic landscape. So it makes it even more than the other Western side. Just because even though they’re the same with the CAC diets different at the same time,
1 (17m 55s):
It has beautiful mountain views too. So you have
4 (17m 58s):
Like a desert mountain views
1 (17m 60s):
Desert in the bottom and then mountain views at the top, which is cool to see.
3 (18m 3s):
And just so you guys know listening, we are going to be linking in our show notes on our website at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. We’re linking to resources for these national parks. You can actually see the CAC dye and the desert landscapes that we’re talking about. So you can pull it up right now while you’re listening.
1 (18m 20s):
Perfect. So we feel like saguaro is a one day trip. You can definitely spend more time in the area if you wanted to, but it can be seen in one day.
3 (18m 29s):
About how long did you spend in both sides? Total?
1 (18m 33s):
I would say probably five hours.
3 (18m 35s):
4 (18m 36s):
Yeah. So like two and a half hours, like each side. And even though we said it had a lot of hiking trails, you know, I hate to say it. It’s not like you see one cat die, you see them all really. But the trails really are those driving ones that we talked about on both sides. If you go during a hot time, a lot of the trails are little short ones off of those roads, little out and backs. And it does give you adequate experience out in nature amongst them themselves. If you were going to do it longer, I would say like you’re either biking or doing those horse designated trails. So if that’s your thing, then definitely you’ll spend a little bit more time out there.
2 (19m 10s):
What trends do you guys wake up to start exploring?
4 (19m 13s):
We flew out like 5:00 AM for a flight from San Diego to Phoenix rented the car and then drove. So we were up. Yeah.
2 (19m 20s):
Oh, that’s beautiful though, because you’re out there with the sun in the desert as it’s coming up.
1 (19m 24s):
Exactly. It was
2 (19m 25s):
Perfect. I mean, you should have written a horse.
1 (19m 29s):
So from Savara we drove four hours north and we stayed in snowflake, Arizona,
4 (19m 35s):
Snowflake, Arizona. It’s funny. Seriously
3 (19m 39s):
Know in some parts of Arizona,
4 (19m 41s):
That’s very true. But if it snows in snowflake, I didn’t see it. Even though we were there in November
1 (19m 46s):
And we stopped here because it was a good town to stop in. And it was 40 minutes south of the Petrified Forest, national park and Jamal and I went and got dinner out there at a steak house.
3 (19m 56s):
4 (19m 57s):
It was like a, it was wild out there. I mean, I really don’t know what more to say them. That
3 (20m 3s):
4 (20m 4s):
Yeah. You know, it’s just, and it’s not even like, it’s a bad thing. Just, you know, growing up in California, not that we haven’t eaten out in other places, but it was just different out there. I really don’t know how to explain it. It was a unique experience. Dining is dining in like small America town. I mean, realistically, no one goes to snowflake to just go to snowflake. I mean, it is a pass through town. We stayed there because we had a long drive from Tucson and saguaro and this was close enough, but still not too long of a drive for us after that fact. And it would get us to Petrified Forest. So it was just dining in a pass through town that probably has a small population.
4 (20m 49s):
It was just weird. You know, there’s those biases, the
1 (20m 51s):
Steak steak was good.
4 (20m 52s):
They was good. There was no doubts about that.
2 (20m 55s):
Ooh. See, like when I think steakhouse, I think of Cattleman’s from back at home and that’s like a Western style steakhouse with unlimited beans. That’s what I found. Yeah. Unlimited baked beans. Yes.
3 (21m 11s):
How have I never eaten this? When I think of a steak house, I think of something classy, like Morton steak.
4 (21m 17s):
So, you know, this is not, it, this is like rugged America steakhouse. And that’s what I mean by different. I don’t mean it like in a bad way. It’s just like, that’s what it was. I almost feel like the steakhouse I ate at was an old west cattle drive. Like that’s really what the, it felt like. And that’s, I guess that would have been a way better way to describe it from the get go. It just came to me now to describe it. Now
2 (21m 37s):
I know because when Kim says Morton steakhouse, I think of like fancy dressed waiters, but then I go back to Cattleman’s, which is like that Western style steak house. And they’re all wearing jeans and flannel with
1 (21m 48s):
Belts. That’s how it was here.
2 (21m 50s):
That is one big house. It’s not a steak house. If you’re not wearing jeans and boots,
3 (21m 57s):
What’s there more than one steak house in snowflake.
1 (22m 0s):
I don’t think so.
3 (22m 2s):
2 (22m 3s):
Just like what, the
3 (22m 5s):
One and only steak house in snowflake you would recommend?
1 (22m 8s):
Yes. And it was like doctor
4 (22m 9s):
1 (22m 11s):
Locals go here. Definitely. Okay.
2 (22m 13s):
Unlimited baked beans.
4 (22m 15s):
2 (22m 16s):
3 (22m 17s):
4 (22m 18s):
3 (22m 19s):
Okay. So you had a salad with the steak. Did you have a big potato beans?
1 (22m 24s):
I read, I want to say they kind of had like blue face style things that you could come up and grab from. This was pre COVID, but I want to say that there was like a soup that you could grab. There was the salad bar and some other things. And then you ordered your main entree.
2 (22m 39s):
You souls me up, Got a buffet with steak and jeans and
3 (22m 46s):
Boots. I would like to go to snowflake just for this day county.
4 (22m 49s):
Well, I’m glad we sold you on it, but you know, what’s really funny at the same time though, is how you keep saying Cattleman’s Eve recollected my memory. And as a matter of fact, it actually was called Calvin’s out there, but different chain, even it’s different than the one in our hometown area, the Cattleman’s up there. But yes, now that you say that, like it literally dawned on me, it’s called Cattlemen’s.
3 (23m 7s):
I wonder how many steakhouses by the name of Cattlemen’s exist.
4 (23m 11s):
I mean, it’s a good name for us
2 (23m 13s):
4 (23m 14s):
That’s what I’m telling you. It was like that cattle drive type field. And that’s really what it was. But we are rocking this steakhouse right here, real, real hard when we should be on the national parks.
3 (23m 23s):
What episode on steakhouse is coming soon,
4 (23m 26s):
1 (23m 28s):
And like I said, all of the dinner entrees include a soup and garden bar, which is the salad bar and they have fresh bread available upon request as
4 (23m 38s):
Well. Or just
2 (23m 40s):
Like the butter on the side. I
1 (23m 41s):
Have no idea.
4 (23m 42s):
I was saying earlier, unlimited like salad. And I said, no, I was wrong. Then I stand corrected. See it happens sometimes. But anyway, we had dinner at Cattleman’s and snowflake stayed in the hotel and then we woke up the next morning to go to Petrified Forest and Petrified Forest. National Parks is really, really unique. I love it a lot. It is open year round, but what makes Petrified Forest cool is if you understand just a little bit of what the word Petrified means in a geological sense, and basically, you know, without going into too much of the science, like any old tree trunks, sort of like organic matter that gets buried, like in wet, moist dirt or volcanic Ash over time, there’s a chemical reaction.
4 (24m 31s):
If you will, that basically hardens and crystallizes, these organic matters to turn into rock.
3 (24m 38s):
It. It’s just crazy to me. I don’t, I still, I, you just explained it, but I still just can’t understand it. It’s crazy.
1 (24m 43s):
Yeah. You know, have you seen those rocks where you break the rock open and there’s a whole bunch of crystals inside, so it’s like that, but instead of a rock, it’s a tree trunk. So when you, the tree trunk is cut, there’s a whole bunch of crystals and that are like making up the trunk of the tree.
2 (24m 60s):
Weird will take me to a Petrified.
4 (25m 2s):
Yeah. I mean, it’s really wild. I mean, these trees out here, I mean, yes, they are like old ancient logs. It’s taken millions of years for this reaction to happen to turn them this way. But realistically it almost looks like these trees are really just like giant crystals in a way, but you can still tell they’re trees. You can see the tree trunk rings amongst them, and then they have different colors of the Petrified cation of the wood itself. So it’s just really unique to see these geological structures. It’s absolutely amazing,
2 (25m 33s):
You know, to me, I love it because it’s just, you know, energy is energy and all it is is changing form and changing energy
4 (25m 40s):
2 (25m 41s):
It really is. Absolutely.
4 (25m 43s):
So I told you what the Petrified would actually is. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more tips wise about the park Brittany? Cause I got a little into it too early. They’re getting excited.
1 (25m 52s):
So for anyone that has a dog, you can bring your pets on most of the trails in this national park, which is different from a lot of the other national parks. A lot of the other national parks though are open like 24 hours. And this park does have designated times that they’re open from eight to five. And again, we’re in the desert. So during the summer months, the high can be like 85, 90 degrees. And in the fall and winter months, it does drop below freezing. So just keep that in mind. It can get really cold out there
4 (26m 22s):
When we were there. Like I said, it was in November and it was actually cold up there. So it’s like, you know, sometimes how the desert can be really cold. We were there when the desert was really cold and it wasn’t like that in Savara, but when you make your way up to Petrified Forest, it definitely gets cold during the day out there, even though it’s desert landscape.
1 (26m 40s):
And we also always want to respect mother earth. So you can’t remove of the petrified wood or the crystals or anything because that’s against the law. Did you
2 (26m 48s):
1 (26m 48s):
Though? They were so pretty like I want to,
2 (26m 51s):
But no, we
4 (26m 51s):
Would never it’s bad karma.
2 (26m 54s):
Oh, it was about to say, oh my gosh, you were going to be cursed so bad. If you remove something where you shouldn’t be removing it from.
4 (26m 60s):
And another tip though, we drove in from the south again, coming from Tucson and Socorro national park. There are two entrances into Petrified Forest. You can go in through the south, which we did and then exit through the north. And I would recommend doing that because when you exit through the north, you’ll end up on interstate 40. And so that’s a better way for you to get back to Phoenix after the fact than being on like a small highway on the south end and having to drive back up. So if you do go, I do recommend going in this order. That way you can leave on the north side,
2 (27m 34s):
Did you guys enter with your America the beautiful past?
1 (27m 37s):
I’m sure we did. We carry that paths with us everywhere. We renew it every single year. So it has served us year after year, but also Jamal was mentioning that when we did enter the park, he would recommend the way that we went. And I would also back that and recommend that because one of the first stops is the visitor center and it’s right next to a whole bunch of hiking trails with tons of viewpoints for the Petrified logs. The first little hike that we did was called giant logs. And it’s a very short, it’s only about half a mile round, triple loop. And it’s some of the largest logs and most colorful logs with the crystals in the park.
2 (28m 18s):
What kind of colors?
1 (28m 19s):
Oh, there is a white and blues and reds and purples. It’s just a rainbow of crystal.
4 (28m 25s):
And there’s like even like dark Browns and different shades of that. Like red, it’s really hard. I mean, you have those like really dark colors, but yet they have those bright colors to it too. It’s really hard to describe without really having seen it. I’m actually really excited to post photos that we have so that our listeners can actually see what they look like in the meantime too. You can actually just go ahead and Google it. I mean, it really is amazing, but before we get too much more into the trails, I did want to say, I mean, I mentioned kind of the process of what makes the woods Petrified, but what’s really, really cool is the wood that’s Petrified here. And the national park, realistically, I mean these tree trunks are originally 250 million years old, like when they were alive and eventually got covered.
4 (29m 10s):
And at one point at this time when they were alive, they can pretty much figure out that at this point, Arizona was along the equator. So what, like when it was part of Pangea and the supercontinent and it’s moved its way up. So, I mean, that’s really how long it’s taken to create these Petrified Forest really that are now at the surface of the earth here in Arizona.
2 (29m 32s):
That is crazy. That is so crazy. I can’t even imagine Arizona at the equator.
4 (29m 37s):
It was at one time. Wow. That was the start of the process to make these beautiful, Petrified Forest that you see.
2 (29m 44s):
W w w what’s Pangea now I’m just kidding.
4 (29m 48s):
I was about to tell you without even judging, but I
2 (29m 50s):
Swear, I know at Pangea is it is when it’s, before it’s, when the earth was all one before it
4 (29m 56s):
2 (29m 57s):
Before it became into the eight continents that we had. Just kidding seven Where I know that it’s seven.
1 (30m 4s):
I was just judging you a little bit when he said,
2 (30m 7s):
When I said that I saw Bernie’s eyes wide and I was like, I swear, I’m kidding. I know that we have seven continent,
1 (30m 13s):
But going back to the giant log trail, one of the tree trunks that is Petrified is almost 10 feet wide at the base and it’s opened up and you can stand right next to it and see all of the crystal formations inside of it. And it’s so beautiful.
4 (30m 29s):
Yeah. So I definitely recommend checking out the giant logs first. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of them in that area. It’s 0.4 miles. So less than half a mile, and it’s not even really a loop. I mean, you can just kind of go around really yourself in the whole area and explore or follow the designated trail. But it’s definitely really interesting to see.
1 (30m 48s):
One of the other hikes we did in this area was also called crystal forests and it’s less than a mile long, and it’s also a loop and it gives you some of the best opportunities to experience the petrified wood deposits with all of the beautiful crystals and just walk around this area.
4 (31m 5s):
Yeah. It’s a really cool loop. And that’s one of the things about this park too, is, I mean, yes, there’s these trails, but this isn’t a national park where you really go to do like major, major hiking. I mean, these are just little strolling trails to really see the features. And so you’re just going to see all these different deposits of the petrified wood and this crystal forest is a really cool one. Just, I mean, they’re all really cool. So I’ll get up pretty much describing them all that way. But everything that we’re saying from the giant logs, crystal fours and what we say going forward, there is one main road through the park, again, Cohen from the south to the north. So we’re mentioning these pretty much along the way as we’re going north here. So crystal forests should be your next stop.
3 (31m 46s):
You mentioned something just now you said this isn’t a national park where you come to do a lot of hiking. And I think that’s a really good point you just made, because I think that’s a common misconception that people have around national parks is I’m not into hiking. So why would I go to a national park? Well, there are a lot of national parks in our system that are not really for big hikers, like Yellowstone national park was one where you just go and Marvel at the natural wonder. So I think that’s a really important point to make is our earth, does these beautiful things naturally and national parks are preserving them so you can see them and experience them. It doesn’t mean you always have to have an easy day where you hike to the cliff. You’re going to fall off of like Brittany likes to do.
4 (32m 29s):
That’s usually the norm, but yeah, this one was a nice little break in terms of that and just really see nature, natural formations. I mean, like I said, these aren’t actual hikes, they’re little trails pretty much, and they’re
1 (32m 40s):
Paved. So a lot of them are wheelchair accessible. You can bring your dogs on them. So it’s really easy to do and just do a whole bunch of these little stopping points and get a little break in the car to,
3 (32m 50s):
Yeah, I like that. You can enjoy nature without having to do a strenuous hike or hike at all
2 (32m 56s):
Question for you when you were driving around, do they have bathrooms a lot of the times or is it kind of like a hold it thing?
1 (33m 3s):
No, they do have bathrooms that some of the major stopping areas are overlooks. So they’re the first stop was right near the visitor center. So there was a bathroom there and then some of the other major drop-offs or hiking areas, they do have bathrooms. And when you pick up a map of the national park, when you first enter it’ll show where the bathrooms are along the way.
4 (33m 23s):
Yeah. Cause this is like a normal national park. In the sense, if you think of one, going back to the analogy of like, you’re doing hiking, you know, there’s a trail head, there’s a parking lot. Usually at those, they have a restroom, even though like these aren’t really ones to do legitimate hygiene, there are still parking turnouts, their major stop location. So they do have restrooms at them along the way.
2 (33m 43s):
Oh, good. That’s good.
4 (33m 44s):
So the next amazing stop along the way is going to be the Jasper force overlook. And this is actually one of the largest deposits of petrified wood that they have in the park. And this is actually really, really cool. The Petrified logs were actually encased in sandstone Bluffs like this big kind of, I don’t want to call it a mountain, but like really deserty rock formation at the top. And over time it’s eventually gotten weathered and they fall in like into the, if I’m using the term valley below. So they were once at the top, but they’ve gotten weathered with erosion here and now they’ve all fallen. And you can, even if you want, make the hiking down into the valley and go see them, or you can just see that sandstone overlook and just see them all on the floor from the Vista point.
4 (34m 30s):
1 (34m 30s):
That’s what we did. We just took a look out into the landscape from the overlook and enjoyed the views from the top.
3 (34m 35s):
And you can see the colors from up there. You can’t
1 (34m 37s):
Really see the colors from up there, but you can see how amazing it is for this to kind of be like a forest on the, like tumbling over on the ground. And you can imagine, as you’re walking through, down at the bottom, how amazing the colors would
3 (34m 49s):
Be. I have a question
4 (34m 50s):
Hit me with it,
3 (34m 51s):
The Petrified Forest. Can you touch them or is it,
4 (34m 55s):
Oh yeah, you can definitely touch them all. We definitely touch them. I mean, they’re smooth like glass.
3 (35m 1s):
4 (35m 2s):
I felt it all up. I mean, know, I didn’t want to say it and be repetitive, but when Brittany was talking about, you know, the one at giant logs, that was about 10 feet, I was about to make a girth joke. But now that you’re
3 (35m 13s):
Going to have enough,
4 (35m 14s):
You can never have enough. That’s very true, I guess. But yeah, no, you can touch them. They’re smooth as glass. They’re really, really cool to touch.
3 (35m 23s):
I want to get in there and start touching.
4 (35m 25s):
Yeah. And you can bring Emma to Kim. I mean, dog-friendly so that’s a cool feature about the park.
1 (35m 30s):
Another stop in the national park is the agate bridge and what it is is 110 foot Petrified log bridge that spans a goalie, which is amazing to see because originally this massive Petrified lag sat on the ground. But because of centuries of floods and water, it has washed away some of the sandstone beneath it. And so it’s formed a natural bridge
3 (35m 55s):
And a goalie is
4 (35m 57s):
Just imagine it almost like a little ditch of sorts. So the water from when it rains snows, you get like flash floods. It’s definitely created this ditch of sorts. And since the wood is Petrified and pretty much almost like stone, that’s not really moving the
1 (36m 14s):
4 (36m 15s):
The sand and earth below is moving. So it’s created like a natural ditch. So this Petrified log spans that ditch. And that’s why they call it the agate bridge. But they, at one point and by they, I mean the national park service was worried about the structural integrity. Like it may actually fall. So now they have actually supported it with concrete. So you can’t see it in its natural formation anymore. It’s still there in the same spot, but they’ve supported it, but they do have a photo of it at the lookout point of what it used to look like before they’ve supported it, but it’s still so cool to think like, okay, this didn’t get weathered away because it’s literally like glass stone sitting right here and all those centuries of erosion below it,
2 (36m 57s):
It was just amazing, like the amount of time, the years and the circumstances to get something, to be the way that it is today.
4 (37m 6s):
Yeah. And that’s what I really enjoyed a lot about this park and why I found it to be unique. You know, you just really are humbled by the length of time of earth and just the natural way of things. You know, you go to a lot of other national parks and yes, you’re out in nature, whether it be like the forests mountains or wherever you may be. But this year you’re looking at geological formations and it just gives you that humbling feeling of like, wow, I’m of this earth and how long has it taken to just create what I’m seeing right here. And it’s so impressive. That’s
3 (37m 37s):
4 (37m 38s):
I try to be, try to get deep.
1 (37m 41s):
So our last major stop that we stopped off was called painted desert rim trail. You know, I love another rim job and it’s actually not a very long trail. It’s only about a mile in length, round trip. And the name of it just says it all. It’s the painted desert. So we don’t see a lot of the Petrified logs in this area, but you go to this landscape that has these Rocky Badlands in the background and they’re in every single color they’re in deep lavender’s grays, reds, orange pinks. And it just looks like it’s a painted desert. Sounds
3 (38m 16s):
4 (38m 17s):
It really is. And it’s such a nice climactic finish too, because again, this is at the north end of the park, if you’re doing the south and north. So it’s such a great way to finish and just really see, okay, well I’m done with the petrified wood in the forest, and now I’m just looking at this beautiful desert landscape that is now multi-colored it’s so, so amazing and breathtaking.
3 (38m 38s):
So you heard it here from the squad. The best way to finish is with the rim job.
4 (38m 45s):
That’s always the best way to My personal favorite way.
1 (38m 51s):
And the fun fact guys, the painted desert stretches from near the grand canyon national park to the Petrified Forest national park. Wow.
4 (38m 58s):
So you can see the grand canyon from here obviously, but that’s just how long the painted canyon is as it stretches from one national park to the next. It’s just one bad land area of these colorful rock formations.
2 (39m 9s):
4 (39m 10s):
3 (39m 10s):
And then, okay. So how long were you in this park for
1 (39m 13s):
How many hours would you say we were in there? Jamal?
4 (39m 15s):
Honestly, I wouldn’t say more than four, if you want me to be honest, like between four and five,
3 (39m 21s):
That’s a good amount of hours to be spending in a park. Yeah.
4 (39m 24s):
And there’s more stops along the way. We just mentioned the main highlights. So if you want to do all of the stops that are listed, definitely do do it. But again, that’s what we were saying with and Petrified Forest. These are really just kind of one day parks.
1 (39m 39s):
And what I really loved about this national park is there so many stopovers, so you can get out, stretch, explore an area, get in the car for a little bit, then go to the next area and you just do that through the whole park. And so, you know, a lot of the times we go to national parks and we’re not like a two-hour drive with nothing else to do. And this really broke up the drive.
2 (39m 57s):
What kind of car would you recommend? Someone rent?
4 (39m 60s):
Honestly, you could be in just like a regular sedan car. You don’t need anything too rugged or anything like that. I mean you’re out no, no Jeep you know, really high mountains is that you’re going over a little steep inclines. I mean, you could be in a regular sedan, but if you want something bigger for comfort by all means, but you don’t need anything. It’s not like you’re going out rugged really out in the desert. You’re always going to be on paved roads.
2 (40m 22s):
And did you guys fly back on Sunday night or did you come back Monday morning and then hit up work?
1 (40m 26s):
We flew back Monday morning and hit work back. I actually remember you picked us up from this trip and if this is when you were working in your office and you were so stressed about picking us up and getting to work on this,
2 (40m 38s):
I think I remember that. I think this is the one where I was like, if you guys land after seven 30, I just can’t pick you guys up anymore. That’s the one I remember saying that one,
4 (40m 47s):
You know, I was saying it earlier and I’ll say it again. You really only do need the one day for each park to see the majority of the highlights. So you can really do this trip in one weekend. So I would highly recommend doing that. You find a cheap flight out to Phoenix, you know? Yes, there’s a little bit of driving involved, but you definitely can make it happen. So do do it again. These are very underrated parks, considering grand canyon steals the show in Arizona, but these ones are not to be missed in my opinion.
2 (41m 15s):
I mean, crystals, steakhouse and a rim job sounds like a fucking solid weekend.
4 (41m 20s):
To me. It was like a fancy night to
3 (41m 22s):
Sign me up
1 (41m 25s):
And squatted. If you guys want to spend longer in Arizona, you can also visit the grand canyon and see all three of Arizona’s national parks during one trip. So definitely do check that out as well. And we also have an episode on the grand canyon it’s episode number eight, how to do the American Southwest in three days,
2 (41m 47s):
Which we also have an itinerary for that as well. You can get on our website at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com
3 (41m 52s):
Definitely go check it out. Zane has been working really hard on the website and she’s really proud of all the improvements she made to that page and the other pages. So definitely peep it out.
4 (42m 0s):
I will say this and I hate to burst your bubble, Kim, but I know you noticed we had no listener questions this week for questions of the week. So let me ask you, so let me ask you ladies, do you have any questions for Brittany and I,
2 (42m 14s):
No. I think for the fact that we didn’t get any questions for this, it’s just a sign that you guys got to go out and explore these two parks. They’re waiting to be explored
4 (42m 22s):
Underrated and not a lot of people know about them. That’s for sure.
3 (42m 25s):
I love it. Well, I guess we can move right on then. Thank you guys so much for tuning into this week’s episode. We appreciate you keep the adventures going with us on social media, Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast, tag us in your adventures. And please, please, please send us in those questions
2 (42m 42s):
The week. And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please make sure to share it with a friend that will enjoy it too.
4 (42m 50s):
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1 (42m 55s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.