The Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is a place of history, adventure, and exploration. The history of the park dates back to the dinosaurs, as indicated by fossilized bones over 150 million years old (the Jurassic Period).
The park is part of the Morrison Formation, a sequence of mudstone, sandstone, siltstone, and limestone—sedimentary rock layers— found in the western United States found to produce the most dinosaur fossils in North America.
The petrified wood you find at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park looks like a multicolored rainbow with red, yellow, white, and black as prominent colors. Petrified logs are thought to be from conifer trees transported by a river before being buried and fossilized by volcanic and metamorphic rocks. Fossilized rocks are of an agate form consisting of chalcedony and quartz used commonly as decorations or jewelry.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
At the visitor center, discover petrified wood, plant and marine fossils, and fossilized dinosaur bones before you head to the hiking trail to see more petrified wood. Exhibits explain the history of the area and its settlement along with the park’s legend. Some say the petrified wood of the park is haunted and removing a piece brings bad luck to the taker. So, make sure to take plenty of pictures and leave the wood on the trail!
Petrified Forest Trail
Get a bird’s eye view of the state park including the reservoir on the Petrified Forest Trail. As you hike this moderate, 1.1-mile loop, you can even catch glimpses of petrified wood and wildflowers. Created by past ancient lava flows, the wood is a unique sight.
Take water on this trail, especially in the midday heat. The trail is best from March to November, and shoes with traction are recommended as some switchbacks are steep in the beginning of the hike. This family-friendly hike is also dog-friendly as long as furry friends are on a leash.
Sleeping Rainbows Trail
If you want to take the Petrified Forest Trail one step further, extend the loop to include the Sleeping Rainbows Trail for even more petrified wood shining like rainbows in the sunshine. The Trail is a .8-mile loop extension of the Petrified Forest Trail.
Wide Hollow Reservoir
Wide Hollow Reservoir is located adjacent to the state park and provides further fun for your trip. Picnic tables can act as your basecamp while you fish, swim, and explore the area nearby.
Fishing is a popular pastime with the possibility of catching rainbow trout, bass and bluegill. Shore fishing is the preferred method as motorized boats are prohibited. The reservoir is also ideal for swimming. Paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes can be rented to enjoy a day on the water. During your adventures, keep your eyes open for wildlife viewing and the numerous occasions that could warrant a photo-op.
Wide Hollow Reservoir is open year-round and is fun to explore in the winter. Amidst the layer of snow, the reservoir freezes and Ice fishing is a fun way to experience the reservoir.
Within the park, there is a campground providing 22 single campsites for lodging accommodations and 1 accessible campsite for visitors with disabilities to reside during their stay. The campsite is pet-friendly and has free parking and Wi-Fi.
- Open year-round
- Summer: 7 am to 10 pm
- Winter: 8 am to 10 pm
- Holiday Closures: Christmas and New Year’s Day
- $10 day-use permit includes watercraft launches
- $5 day-use for Utah seniors 62+
- $100 Annual Pass good until 12/2022
- $35 Senior Adventure (annual) Pass