Rock Discoveries

Discover Arizona’s Petrified Wood: Where to Find and How to Collect It

Arizonas Petrified Wood: Its History and Where to Find It

Have you ever encountered a petrified wood fossil? If not, then youre missing out on one of the most fascinating natural wonders Arizona has to offer.

Petrified wood is formed when trees are buried deeply, where they undergo a process of mineralization over millions of years. Today, Arizona is renowned for its vast deposits of petrified wood.

The state has made it a high priority to protect and preserve this unique resource, but it also allows petrified wood to be collected largely in public lands with permission. In this article, well explore how to find petrified wood in Arizona and what you need to know about this fascinating fossil.

Finding Petrified Wood in Arizona

Arizona is well-known for its vast deposits of petrified wood; from its vast expanses of deserts to its mountain ranges, there are many exciting spots to explore. Let’s take a look at some of the best locations where you can find petrified wood in Arizona.

The DoBell Ranch

One of the best areas where you can find a wide variety of petrified wood specimens is at the DoBell Ranch. It is a private property where you can find well-preserved logs in their natural state.

However, there is an access fee, and you are required to bring your bucket, hydration, and a detailed map of the area. Ensure you observe the property rules before exploring the site.

Alamo Lake


Alamo Lake is located in the remote part of western Arizona. It is a man-made reservoir that is an ideal location for various types of petrified wood, including maurocodon, chinle, and agate.

It is accessible to the public, but you should be patient when searching for your specimens as they may be spread out. There are excellent camping facilities and different types of lodgings, making it the perfect place for a weekend getaway.


Woodruff is a small but charming location that has a lot to offer petrified wood hobbyists. It is the perfect destination for enthusiasts who are looking for small pieces that are easy to collect using a hand pick or hammer.

Visitors should be aware that certain areas are off-limits for collecting; therefore, follow rules and restrictions carefully.

McCracken Mountains

If you are looking for free and highly rewarding petrified wood hunting, the

McCracken Mountains may be worth exploring. It is a vast, empty space that is free for taking; however, it is essential to carry a detailed map of the area before venturing into the region.

Joseph City

Joseph City is one of the most well-known petrified wood sites in Arizona; it is an old trading post where fossilized pieces can be bought and sold. The petrified wood here is unique because it has undergone further fossilization to become precious metals like gold and silver.

Contact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the latest information and restrictions on collecting on public lands. Arizona’s State Fossil

Petrified wood is the state fossil of Arizona and is one of its greatest natural treasures.

As part of the Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility for the management of public lands within Arizona, there are specific regulations on the harvesting of petrified wood. It is illegal to remove or damage petrified wood on federal lands without the necessary permits.

Private landowners are required to have written permission from the BLM before they can harvest petrified wood from federal lands. Educational and scientific purposes are among the few reasons permits can be granted.

Petrified Forest National Park


Petrified Forest National Park is another fascinating location that visitors can explore. The park boasts a breathtaking landscape that includes an array of petrified wood specimens.

However, keep in mind that no collecting is allowed within the national park boundaries. Rangers enforce the rules and restrictions, but visitors can enjoy viewing the fossils and learning about Arizona’s unique history and geology.

In conclusion, Arizona is one of the best places in the world for petrified wood collectors and enthusiasts. The state offers a broad range of locations where visitors can explore and find unique pieces of petrified wood.

It is essential to follow the rules and regulations when visiting, while also ensuring that the fragile environment is protected and preserved. With the right tools and permissions, visitors can experience and learn from Arizona’s fascinating natural wonder known as petrified wood.

Petrified Wood in Arizona: General Information and Tips for Collecting

Are you planning a trip to Arizona to explore the unique and fascinating world of petrified wood fossils? You’re in luck! The state of Arizona hosts some of the most significant and diverse deposits of petrified wood in the world, making it a prime destination for fossil enthusiasts and collectors.

From the small and intricate to the large and awe-inspiring, petrified wood fossils can be found throughout Arizona’s deserts and forested landscapes. With virtually every county having petrified wood beds, this guide will provide information on types of petrified wood, collecting limitations, tips and essential safety guidelines to help you get started on your journey.

Scattered Throughout the State

Petrified wood is common throughout Arizona, with every county in the state boasting at least one petrified wood deposit. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages over 12 million acres of public land in Arizona, which contains significant deposits of petrified wood available for public collection.

Many private landowners also possess petrified wood on their properties. It is crucial to receive their permission before entering private lands as trespassing is illegal.

Before planning your petrified wood collecting trip, research specific areas and regulations that control collecting petrified fossils.

Types of Petrified Wood

There are several types of petrified wood in Arizona, and two of the most famous are Araucarioxylon arizonica and palm. Araucarioxylon arizonica is the most common type of petrified wood found in Arizona.

It originated from ancient forests that existed over 225 million years ago. Palm petrified wood is rarer but can be found in specific deposits around the state.

It is essential to note that some areas have specific species available for collection. Be familiar with the distinguishing features of each species before setting out to recognize them.

Collecting Limitations

Restrictions exist on collecting petrified wood in Arizona. Private landowners and the government hold control over collections.

Private landowners can determine whether or not visitors can collect petrified wood on their property. The United States Government controls public land collection.

Petrified wood collection in public areas falls under the jurisdiction of the BLM and National Park Service. The BLM provides permits for collecting petrified wood fossils on federal lands.

No permit exempts collectors from formalizing these permits. Petrified wood collection policies must be adhered to, and all activities are subject to a yearly quota.

Tips for Collecting Petrified Wood in Arizona

Before heading out on your petrified wood collecting journey, it is essential to take several safety precautions. Every location has specific conditions that require adequate preparation.

Follow these safety guidelines to avoid accidents:

Dress for weather: Even in the heat of Arizona’s summer months, the weather can become unstable quickly. Protect yourself from the sun, and also bring sweaters for cooler weather during the winter.

Bring water and sunscreen: With high temperatures, staying hydrated is essential. Keep water on hand for emergencies, as dehydration is a significant hazard.

Sunscreen with high SPF is also necessary to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Loose-fitting clothing: When selecting clothing, opt for loose-fitting items that won’t restrict movement or overheat you in the heat of the day.

4-Wheel Drive or ATV: Explore petrified wood deposits that require off-road vehicles with 4-wheel drive or ATVs. These vehicles provide access to more remote locations where intricate specimens can be found.

Finding Specimens

When looking for petrified wood fossils, observe off-limits areas and stay on designated trails. Petrified wood is plentiful, but some locations have rules in place to protect animals, plants, and other resources.

If you want to find the best specimens, follow these tips:

Pick up available specimens: There are no shipping restrictions on petrified wood specimens in Arizona. However, it is illegal to remove petrified fossils from sites on public lands without a permit.

Small pieces are ideal for those who enjoy working with small crafts and sanding pieces.

Watch for off-limits areas: Do not wander into restricted areas.

Petrified wood in restricted areas may be more abundant and of higher quality than other areas, but it is not permissible to collect these fossils from such sites. Look for larger buried specimens: Look for larger fossil specimens that are partially exposed from the soil.

Use maps for potential sites: Maps can be found online or state maps highlighting specific areas where petrified wood fossils can be found. Study these maps, including site access and restrictions.

Quality and Quantity of Specimens

The quality and quantity of petrified wood fossils found in different locations in Arizona vary. Sites like DoBell Ranch and

Petrified Forest National Park provide high-quality samples that are perfect for experienced collectors.

Alamo Lake and

Woodruff offer smaller pieces that are ideal for hobbyists, while

McCracken Mountains and

Joseph City provide abundant fossil rock specimens for bulk collection.

In conclusion, locating and collecting petrified wood fossils in Arizona may be an incredible journey.

Before setting out, take the necessary safety precautions, adhere to the petrified wood collecting limitations, and follow tips for locating specimens. Exploring the state’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems can help you discover artifacts from ancient worlds and learn more about our planets history.

In conclusion, Arizona is home to vast and diverse deposits of petrified wood, which make it a popular destination for fossil enthusiasts. Our article has provided general information on types of petrified wood, locations to find them, collecting limitations, and tips for collecting.

Despite petrified wood’s abundance, strict regulations should be observed to preserve the fragile environment and the specific culture and history of those who live near and within it. Arizona’s biodiversity indicates that petrified wood and other natural resources should be wisely managed and preserved for generations to come.


Q: Is it legal to collect petrified wood in Arizona? A: It is legal to collect petrified wood in Arizona with proper permits and permissions, but different areas have specific regulations in place.

Q: Where can I find petrified wood in Arizona? A: Petrified wood deposits are scattered throughout the state; some notable locations include DoBell Ranch,

Petrified Forest National Park, and

McCracken Mountains.

Q: What safety precautions should I take when collecting petrified wood in Arizona? A: Important safety measures include dressing for the weather, staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and having a four-wheel-drive or ATV.

Q: Can I take petrified wood fossils from public lands without a permit? A: No, it is illegal to remove petrified fossils from public lands in Arizona without a permit.

Q: What types of petrified wood can be found in Arizona? A: Two of the most famous types of petrified wood found in Arizona are the Araucarioxylon arizonica and palm, though petrified wood deposits in Arizona vary in species.

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