Saturday, March 17, 2007

Petrified wood in YNP


Specimen Ridge, looking into the Lamar River towards Mammoth.

While Yellowstone NP is not generally known for its petrified wood and trees it has some nice specimens. There is a tree that is accessible by car but most of the petrified wood requires some hiking to reach. I am most familiar with the wood on Specimen Ridge although I've never made it to the fossil forest part of the trail. The shortest trail to the examples in the pictures in this post starts from an unmarked trailhead between Tower and the Slough Cr. turnout. This is not the marked Specimen Ridge trailheads. The trail is clearly visible from the road going up to the ridge and becomes quite steep it places. After reaching the ridge, look back to fix in your mind how you came up, finding the safe trail down can be difficult among the cliffs. Several petrified trees can be found nearby, both standing stumps and trees laying along the ground.


Another stump along Specimen Ridge.

Another area that has petrified wood is the Gallatin Mountains along the northwest of the Park and various areas in the National Forest. I have found some wood there but nothing dramatic, possibly I don't know where to go. I have hiked up Specimen Creek which like Specimen Ridge is named for the fossils found there but did not go far enough to the fossil areas.

Please remember that it is illegal to remove petrified wood or anything else from Yellowstone Park.


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