Petrified Forest Road runs through the entire length of the Petrified Forest National Park. There are many scenic overlooks along the way as a visitor passes through the Painted Desert, Blue Mesa and the Rainbow Forest. There are also a few historic sites, an ancient pueblo and several hiking trailheads that can be found along this long road too. One of the most popular hiking trails is the one that goes to the Agate Bridge and this short trail is also one of the easiest to do. By following this short trail, a visitor will see one of the most unique features of this National Park, which can be found nowhere else on earth!
The Agate Bridge is a natural bridge that is composed of a gigantic ancient petrified log that rests upon an eroded sandstone arch. In this area the ancient cycles of water erosion carved this landscape and many unique geological features were created. The volcanic tuff and sandstone is much softer than petrified agate, which is composed of dense hardened silica and calcified material. As rains fell over a long course of time, the ultra hard petrified wood shielded the sandstone ground surface directly below. In the case of the Agate Bridge, the rain water cut a small ravine through the soft sandstone under a large petrified log and a natural bridge was created.
The Agate Bridge certainly has withstood the test of time and this is truly a magnificent sight to see. Nowhere else can an ancient petrified log bridge can be found, so this truly is a special destination that should be noted when visiting this National Park. Crossing the Agate Bridge on foot is not allowed because this bridge is fragile, but there are plenty of good viewpoints in the area. Once again, this is a very photogenic place, so be sure to bring a good camera along for the hike!
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