Long Logs and Agate House Loop is a short hiking trail in Petrified Forest National Park. The hiking path highlights the petrified wood that can be seen throughout the park. The trail also features a reconstructed replica of a Pueblo made from petrified logs.
Long Logs and Agate House Hiking Trail Guide
The Four Corners region of the United States features some of the most unique landscape in the country. Known as the Colorado Plateau, this region includes several popular national parks. The southeastern edge of the plateau in northern Arizona is home to Petrified Forest National Park. This national park is known for its reptilian and tree fossils as well as a large area of vibrantly colored landscape known as the painted desert.
The Long Logs and Agate House Loop trail is a great introduction to this national park. These trails can be done individually however it makes more sense to do them combined in a loop. Both trails have the same trailhead and are side by side. In-fact, even if you skip the Agate House, it can be seen a short distance away from the majority of the Long Logs trail. This trail includes some of the highest concentrations of petrified wood in the entire park. Other views will include the base of gray and purple rolling badlands and the plains of the high desert south of the park boundaries.
It is important to note that prior to European exploration and arrival, this region was highly valued by Native Americans for over ten thousand years. The area within Petrified National Forest served as an important trade and migration route for the people’s of the Pueblo, Zuni, and Hopi. Surrounding the park’s borders is the territory of Navajo Nation.
Long Logs Trail History
Prior to being the high desert plains and Painted Desert of northern Arizona that it is today, the area was once an immense floodplain. The tropical environment was home to many pre-historic species of amphibians and reptiles during the Triassic period approximately 225 million years ago. The current long logs are a remnant of a large scale flood 200 million years ago.
In the flood, prehistoric trees were buried by immense layers of sediment. The logs were buried so deep that oxygen was cut off from the decaying process. Sediment and volcanic ash in the water allowed organic matter to slowly be replaced with a variety of minerals. Today the fossilized trees are mostly made up of quartz and are a reminder of an environment that once was.
Agate House History
From a more recent historical perspective, the area within Petrified National Forest was used in large part by the ancestral Pueblo people. These people found a use of the petrified wood which included knives, scrapers, and projectile points. The Agate House represents how these people used petrified pieces of wood to construct houses for living in. Throughout the park there have been hundreds of similar structures found throughout the park.
This house was reconstructed during the winter of 1933-34. Although it is not an exact replica, it was intended to portray what such homes looked like. This replica is an eight room pueblo is thought to have been occupied sometime between the years 1050 and 1300. Throughout the trail this home can be seen sitting on top of a hill in the Rainbow Forest area of the park. Today the Agate House is on the National Register of Historic Places.
On A Personal Note
This was a fun trail to do as an introduction to the park. The south end of the park is where the highest concentrations of petrified wood is. The wood is actually pretty neat. The fossilization gives the trees a crystal like appearance and the mineral composition gives of a near rainbow color in the bright sunlight. Although this trail doesn’t have the mountainous views that I typically enjoy, this trail is beautiful from a historical perspective.
As a reminder, it is a criminal act to steal any petrified wood, fossils, or Native American artifacts. Please remember to always leave no trace
when visiting the outdoors.
Have you hiked this trail recently? Please share any trail updates/pictures in the comments below.