This is a must do for everyone and especially parents. Have no reservations to drive out to the west side of the park. The road is "gravel" but very well maintained for the fracking operations you will see along they way: only a lowered or ultra sports car would have issues (and in reality probably not even these type will suffer. It is a nice smooth road).
Please, even those whom question whether they can manage the "strenuous" hike, the distance to the petrified wood is minimal.The half mile walk to the gate is easy - follow the instructions previously written by reviewers. The hike in is flat until you meet the rise to the plateau. The hike up to the plateau is the equivalent of about three flights of stairs. One can rest as much as needed. Then at the "post follow the path to the left. You will be on an unspeakably beautiful sea of yellow flowered plain for a mile or less. then you will descend the plain on the same equivalent three flights of stairs into the basin containing the petrified forest.
All can be accomplished in a leisurely two or fewer hours not including viewing time.
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