Meander along the Giant Logs Trail for a glimpse into the lush, verdant ecosystem that once thrived in this area over 200 million years ago. By looking around the area today, it would be difficult to guess that dense forests once covered the hills here.
Short distances combined with many visitors make this a difficult place to run, especially in the summer months.
Starting at the Rainbow Forest Museum, head south along the path to view massive petrified wood specimens, including Old Faithful
, which clocks in at over 10 feet in diameter.
The trail is mostly flat and quite short, which makes this an easy option to see many of the most famous samples of the petrified forest.
The petrified tree samples that are present along the trail are the result of a unique mineral composition. The minerals that replaced the original tree materials here are brilliantly colored and give visitors the impression that all of the colors of the rainbow are represented. Even visitors who have previously witnessed petrified forests elsewhere will want to stop here to admire the colorful array of samples.
History & Background
Formed over 200 million years ago during the Triassic, these logs were quickly toppled and covered in silica-rich river sediments and volcanic ash. Over time, the lack of oxygen and microbes available to decompose these buried trees allowed groundwater to dissolve minerals from the surrounding sediment and begin to replace the organic material in the tree. After many hundreds of years, the trees seen here were completely replaced by the mineral quartz. Since quartz is an extremely erosion-resistant mineral, the trees still exist on the surface today, while the surrounding sediments continue to erode quickly.