The trailhead for this route cannot be reached from the main road through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. To get there from Medora, go west on I-94 then take exit 23. Go north along Forest Service Road 730 and follow the signs for the Petrified Forest. You'll pass a private road sign, but you have permission to continue. Continue on this road until you reach Road 730-2. Turn right then take the first left. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended as the road can have large ruts and potholes.
There's a 175-foot ascent in the first half mile of the trail. Shortly after completing this ascent, you'll see a trail marker at the junction for the north and south trails. Beyond the initial ascent and the valley where the petrified wood is located, this trail is entirely across flat prairie grassland. The trail ends when it meets the Maah Daah Hey Trail. You can turn this trail into the 10 mile loop by turning north on the Petrified Forest Loop Trail portion of the Maah Daah Hey then then returning via the North Petrified Forest Trail. The path is well traveled so following it isn't difficult if wildlife have broken any trail markers. The trail can be slick if it's rained recently. There is almost no shade and no water source.