Blue Mesa

One of the best hikes in Petrified Forest National Park.

Hiking Easy

Distance
1.6 km
Ascent
38 m
Descent
39 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
1.7 km
Gradient
Blue Mesa Map

Blue Mesa is regarded as one of the best hikes in Petrified Forest National Park. On this short loop, you'll get to view the beautiful petrified logs set with a backdrop of bluish bentonite clay hills. These hills are particularly beautiful when the rising or setting sun casts long, low-angle rays across the landscape.

Description

The hike begins with a short but steep descent from the trailhead down into the bottomlands. The entire trail tread is a maintained paved surface, meaning that the hike is entirely non-technical. However, the initial descent (and subsequent climb at the end) is plenty steep. But once down in the bottom, you'll hike a flat, scenic loop through the towering bentonite hills, gaining a new perspective of the area around every corner.

These "towering hills are banded by colorful layers of silts, sands, and gravels left behind by massive Triassac-age river systems that more than 200 million years ago left sedimentary deposits upwards of 1,000 feet deep across the landscape," according to Kurt Repanshek on NationalParksTraveler.com. Numerous fossils have been discovered in this area by paleontologists.

Once you've complete the lower loop, it's a short but steep grunt back to the top of the ridge and the trailhead where you began.

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area