Calistoga's Petrified Forest

by Penny Sadler / May 17, 2018 /
Penny Sadler's picture

What is a petrified forest? They look like trees, but when you touch them they're cold. Transformed by minerals in sediment, volcanic ash, and groundwater, the trees have become fossilized. No longer wood, these trees tell the story of the climate and ecosystem millions of years ago.

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

The Petrified Forest in Calistoga, California is the result of an eruption of Mt. St. Helena over 3,000,000 years ago. The volcanic eruption probably lasted for years and was followed by many more eruptions, each one depositing another layer of sediment and ash, transforming the giant Sequoia redwoods little by little.

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

There are only a handful of petrified forests in the United States...and one of them is in Calistoga, California. In 1978, the forest was designated a California historical landmark.

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

If you're a big history or geology buff, you'll want to take the 90 minute walking tour of the Petrified Forest’s spectacular upper meadow with Naturalist David Storck. During the 1/2 mile round trip tour, David will explain the volcanic activity and petrification of the forest.

Learning about Calistoga's Petrified Forest with Naturalist David Storck

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

In addition to seeing the excavations of petrified redwoods, you will see a 100 foot-high ash fall which contains deposits of volcanic material such as tuff, rhyolite, iron, petrified wood chunks, and obsidian.

Calistoga's Petrified Forest

The park is open daily and is a great way to spend a couple of hours. There's also a wonderful gift shop which sells rocks and minerals from all over the world.

Visiting Calistoga's Petrified Forest

The Petrified Forest
4100 Petrified Forest Road, Calistoga Ca 94515
http://petrifiedforest.org/

 

 

 

Penny Sadler is the Style/Travel Editor for Wandering Educators. For more information on traveling in style, please see www.pennysadler.com and http://adventuresofacarryon.com/

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Penny Sadler

 

 

Note: this article was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2018
 

 

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