The Petrified Forest is a destination that's not to be missed if you and Fido are in Calistoga! Regarded as one of the world's best examples of a Pliocene fossil forest, it features a pawscinating grove of petrified redwood trees that once grew abundantly in the area, but are now extinct. Step back in time as you and your pup check out these trees that were turned to stone over 3 million years ago following a volcanic eruption. Not only is The Petrified Forest dog-friendly, but four-legged visitors also get to enter for free!
To see the trees, head to the forest's Main Trail, which spans just less than half a mile. All petrified exhibits can be found along this trail, and you can either join a docent-led tour or go on a self-guided walk to see them. The other path in the forest is the Meadow Walk Trail, which is about the same length as the Main Trail. From the Meadow Walk Trail, you and your pooch will be able to view the original site of the volcano that petrified the redwoods, plus an ash fall. As you explore the site, you will notice sparkles on the trees and trails—these are varieties of quartz that resulted from past volcanic activity.
So that everyone has a pawsitive experience in The Petrified Forest, remember to practice good trail petiquette by keeping your doggo on a leash and picking up after them. Waste bags are not provided, so carry some with you. And while the trails may be short and easy, bringing water for both you and your furry pal is still a must. The Petrified Forest is open to visitors year-round, but note that hours vary seasonally—it closes earlier at 5 PM in the winter and stays open longer until 7 PM during the summer. Always check before going, and you and Fido should have a furrific time on this unique hike!
Beware of snakes and check your pup for ticks after walking through the forest.