North Dakota] What to do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park? - Part 2: Petrified Forest

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Petrified Forest

Roosevelt National Park (Theodore Roosevelt National ParkIt is mainly divided into three parts: North unit, South unit and Elkhorn ranch unit.South UnitPetrified forest is categorized as a remote area in the National Park's profile, but in reality, Petrified forest is just 5 miles west of the next freeway exit from South Unit, which is just right for a one-day trip if you go fast enough and tuck in with the South area.

The reason why I came to Petrified forest is because the ranger in the visitor center recommended that this side to see the petrified wood, the petrified forest range is the third largest in the United States, the park did not lay a man-made trail here, almost completely maintain the original state, few tourists, accidentally became my most recommended attractions in Roosevelt National Park.

After getting off the highway, you have to drive 5 miles on a dirt road, which looks difficult, but it's actually not too bad, ranger also said that normal cars can drive in. The front part of the entrance is private land, and the road is a bit bumpy after rain, so just drive slower.

Petrified forest loop

Drive to the trailhead and park, from here you can either take the one way out and back 3 miles trail which is moderately difficult, or take a big loop which is more difficult. After climbing 0.5 mile, you will see the junction, which is the starting point of the loop, if you walk around the whole loop, it will be 5 miles. we chose to take the North petrified forest trail, and only walk to the area with the largest petrified forest and back.

Non-petrified forests are basically grasslands, and on the day we came here, the climate was particularly cold, so there were fewer animals, and the scenery in front of us was exceptional and rarely seen in normal times. If you like the tranquility of the wilderness, you can enjoy it here.

This is where you often step on fossils while walking. One of the special terrain is the Popcorn Rock, which seems to be a cracked rock on the ground, but when you step on it, it is soft, and your foot will make a hole in it.

After a steep descent, we started to see petrified wood. Petrified wood is trees that have become fossilized. 60 million years ago, there were many rivers and swamps in this area, and the cause of petrified wood is that in the past, volcanic ash from the eruption of the petrified forest area was deposited here and covered parts of the trees, and then silica and quartz carried by the water flow gradually entered into the trees, and the lower part of these trees became fossilized. There are many fossilized tree trunks and roots on the ground.

A little further on, we entered the largest petrified forest. A rabbit scared a piece of fossilized bark, which was still dark wood inside, but when I picked it up, I realized that it was a stone, very heavy, and really hard as a stone.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Petrified forest 18

The petrified forest area can be wandered for a long time and there are a lot of interesting petrified trees to see. Like this petrified tree trunk we saw a small tree growing out of it.

Some of the fallen tree trunks were petrified.

Continuing up the hill there are more fossils, and the vantage point is quite special with views of the side valleys and badlands terrain.

Further reading

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