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Blue Mesa Trail

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona USA

Open Now
Thu 8a-5p
  • Independent
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“rad fossil-hunting hike!”

Do you want to view a landscape that is out of this world? If your answer is yes, then the Blue Mesa Trail is sure to please—located in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, this mile long trail takes you down into the Painted Desert, a landscape brushed in blue, where you will find cone-shaped hills banded in a variety of colors and intricately eroded into unique patterns. The steep Blue Mesa Trail gives the hiker access to not only these badlands, but to the park’s namesake—the Petrified Forest. The trailhead starts up on the windy mesa, but once you descend below the rim, the air is calm and warm. In contrast, up on the mesa, the wind can be fierce, but do not let the wind stop you—head down the trail to get close-up views of the petrified trees. The remnants of the trees lie scattered all along the edges of the trail, allowing for excellent viewing and/or photo opportunities. The trail descends 100 feet below the rim, and can be a little steep for some people, but it can be easily managed by anyone in good physical condition. Oddly enough, not very many people venture down into Blue Mesa, so if you like solitude you will find it on this trail—most people opt to view the Blue Mesa from the overlook, but to truly appreciate it you must get a closer look from below the rim. Length: 1 mile loop, moderately strenuous Trailhead: Blue Mesa sun shelter Descending from the mesa, this alternately paved and gravel trail loops among badland hills of bluish bentonite clay and petrified wood. Plant fossils, including delicate ferns, have been found in the sedimentary layers of Blue Mesa. Please leave petrified wood and other fossils for all to enjoy. The top portion of this trail may be negotiated by strollers and various mobility equipment (power and manual). The trail then drop very steeply to its lower portion.

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Reviewed by

  • 12 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
February 12, 2016
Rated 5.0

Do not miss this drive! We went in the south entrance of the Petrified National Forest from Holbrook. It was about a thirty minute drive to the entrance, about 1-1.5 hour drive through the park, and we finished at the 40. The views were INCREDIBLE. The Blue Mesa Trail and Painted Desert are things that everyone should see in their lifetime. The colors are indescribable. The lookouts are breathtaking. The petrified wood is awesome. We saw deer, lizards, condors, Ravens, and tons of little critters (which my two year old loved looking for at the lookouts). Pictures don't do it justice, you have to experience it for yourself.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 14 Reviews
  • 27 Helpful
June 26, 2013

part of the trail for the petrified forest/painted desert. I thought the views were perhaps the most beautiful at this point.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Bailey Tann

  • 11 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
May 26, 2015
Rated 4.0

great trail! But very short. Still worth the visit, the entire park is beautiful

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Reviewed by

  • 17 Reviews
  • 10 Helpful
March 30, 2015
Rated 5.0

So beautiful! Do the whole painted desert, blue mesa, ect. tour. The blue mesa was my favorite part though.

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Blue Mesa Trail

Petrified Forest National Park


Open now until 5:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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