Here it is. Literally. HERE IT IS. The most famous sign on Route66 since 1949. The Jackrabbit Trading Post, originally a snake farm until a dude bought the land and set all the snakes free (eek!), has been selling trinkets and enticing visitors with its ginormous JACKRABBIT, which you can still ride!:
We came upon this Route66 icon, while driving from Flagstaff to the Petrified Forest NP, and here are some other prehistoric gems we found along the way:
Ever heard of a Wigwam, let alone slept in one?!
The Rock Shop is the perfect place to stop to buy… you guessed it, ROCKS! Though we loved it mostly for the photo ops:
Here’s Drew feeding this lucky dino his first taste of Ben & Jerry’s! Chubby Hubby incase you were wondering 🙂
So, what is the Petrified Forest anyway?! Well, over 3.4 million years ago this land was covered by a forest filled with majestic Redwood giants until a local volcano erupted, burying this lush forest in a thick layer of volcanic ash. This volcanic ash initially preserved the wood, due to the lack of oxygen, ultimately inhibiting the wood’s ability to decompose. Eventually, mineral-rich water flowed through the land embedding bits of ash in the tree’s cells, and as the wood began to decay, a stone mold formed in its place, creating THIS:
The Petrified Forest NP has the largest collection of Petrified Wood than any place else in the world! Rangers are very adamant about guests not taking pieces of these incredible stones home with them, we know it’s hard, but if everyone took a piece… eventually there’d be nothing left! Not to worry, there are a ton of shops all around the park offering wooden gems for purchase – did you ever even question it?!
We recommend spending 1 full-day exploring the numerous trails and view points that are laden with these incredible stone logs and other incredible formations. Start out by stopping in one of the two Visitor Centers to get a map and sketch your trail. We went to the Rainbow Forest Museum to start, but if you’re seeking permits of any kind (Devil’s Playground or backcountry camping), be sure to go to the Painted Desert Visitor Center.
Note: You have to be driving out of the park at dusk (hours change based on the season), and you can camp for free just outside the South entrance at the Crystal Forest Campground!Here are our favorite photos from our day at the Petrified Forest:
Fun Fact: The Petrified Forest NP is the only National Park in the US that has an actual portion of historic Route66 running right through it!
It was a toss up, but we have to say that Blue Mesa was our favorite trail:
Then, when sunset came rolling around and the sky started to do its incredible, pastel-painted thing, we decided to have some fun with it:
So, if you find yourself riding along good ole Route66, don’t pass up the chance to explore this incredibly-unique, outdoor museum. Between the numerous trails, the sweeping views and the gorgeous fossils, it’s way worth it!