Roads and Trails – Petrified Forest National Park AZ


A major upgrade of facilities at the Petrified Forest National Monument (now National Park) was undertaken by the New Deal in the 1930s.  The work was carried out from 1933 to 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), under the direction of the National Park Service (NPS).  Some, if not all, was paid for by a grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA).

Among other works, the CCC enrollees improved and paved the parks’ dirt roads, including the main Petrified Forest Road and the Blue Mesa Scenic Road, adding bridges over the washes.  The also built the park’s trail system, including Blue Mesa trail, Crystal Forest trail and Rainbow Forest trail.  The scenic overlook at Jasper Forest (pictured below) has the appearance of CCC work, as well.

Some CCC trails in the hills ‘badlands’ of the park have been washed out over the years, according to one ranger we spoke to, while others have been resurfaced and improved (e.g. Rainbow Forest/Giant Logs trail).


Source notes

Information panel on CCC at Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park

Interview with park ranger on March 29, 2022.

National Park Service, "Giant Logs Trail Guide." n.d. available at Rainbow Forest Visitors' Center

National Park Service flyer on Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, 2013. Available on site. 

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on April 30, 2022.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Blue Mesa Loop
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028

Location notes: Pin drop at Blue Mesa Loop

Coordinates: 34.9394, -109.7531

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