After taking a visit to the beautiful Petrified Forest National Park, you may be wondering if there is anywhere you can (legally) pick up your own petrified wood. Being the rockhound that I am, I immediately researched where I could pick up my own. Luckily my dad found the phone number and address to the DoBell Ranch so we called and made our way out there. My brother and I collected pieces of all colors and sizes in a large bucket, just like the wood inside the Petrified Forest. It is definitely one of the coolest hidden gems of rock hunting!
Things to know:
Seeing all of the gorgeous pieces of rock within the park may be tempting for you to take a piece home, but DONT! It is a crime and you will be reported to the park service and arrested for defacing the park. What most people don’t realize is that the wood outside of the national park itself is free game, which is why I headed to the DoBell Ranch instead. Plus who doesn’t like finding their own gems and paying for pieces far cheaper than they have at the gift shop?
After you have gone through the park, head towards the Southern exit and make a right on 180 towards Holbrook, AZ. On your right, you are looking for a fence where there will be three small signs and then a turn off. They are all very worn down, so make sure and keep a lookout for them. Then take the turn and follow the dirt road all the way down until you get to the museum and homes. It is around three miles so don’t be worried if you think you took the wrong road.
Once you arrive:
You may not see anyone outside when you first get there, so park near the home and someone should see you and come outside. If not, you can knock on the door and say hello and someone will come out.
What to Expect:
There are three piles of bowling ball and smaller sized pieces of wood near the trailer homes where you can pick up pieces of wood. The three times I have been there I have always just picked up out of these piles and had plenty of wood to come home with. Depending on when you go, there could be a lot of wood or very little. Recently the grandfather who was the originally owner of the land and museum had passed away, so the great grandson and other family members have started digging out wood and preserving the area. Instead of selling the ranch to the National Park Service, they continue to run the museum and extract the wood in memory of the grandfather.
Does it cost anything?
Once you get out there, someone will come out (most likely Noah DoBell) and let you collect your wood for a certain price. The price you pay depends on the amount that you pick up and take as well as the sizes. The past 2-3 times I have been out there I paid $40 for a 5 gallon bucket filled with wood of all shapes and sizes.
When you’re done:
The pieces you collected are most likely going to be dirty but you can easily clean them with a toothbrush, water and soap to see the beautiful colors. This will look similar to how they do in the shop, the only difference is that the ones in the stores have been polished. These rocks will have colors of the rainbow within them and some may even have crystals too!
I hope you enjoy this post and if you visit the park or ranch, make sure and leave a comment so I can hear about your experience!