Tom’s Experience hiking the Sleeping Rainbows Trail in the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park:
The Petrified Forest and Trail of Sleeping Rainbows Loop was a nice little hike in the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, just outside of Escalante Utah. This state park can get very hot in the summer months so be prepared with lots of water.
The start of the hike has lots of information about different petrified forest facts and how the petrified trees were formed. There is also a trail guide you can get at the start of the trail that guides you through a number of marked viewpoints.
The start of the trail climbs to the top of the bluff and then the Trail of Sleeping Rainbows climbs down and back up the other side. There were warnings posted that the Sleeping Rainbows trail was really steep, which it is, but I felt like it was not too much more difficult than the climb at the beginning of the hike.
It was fun hiking along the trail and trying to spot all the petrified wood. My wife and I would call out anytime we saw a petrified tree and point it out. The Sleeping Rainbows trail had tons and it was very easy to spot. It was a little bit more difficult on the Petrified Forest trail but there was still a lot to see.
The beautiful colors of the petrified wood is caused by the various minerals that entered the wood during the petrifying process. Iron oxides produce oranges, reds and yellows, while manganese oxides create blues, blacks and purples.
The rocks are very pretty, so you may be tempted to take one, but legend has it that the wood is cursed and removing a piece will bring the taker nothing but bad luck. The total round trip hike is about 1.75 miles. In addition to the petrified forest hikes, there is Wide Hollow Reservoir that is stocked with rainbow trout and bluegill. Dogs are allowed in the state park but must be kept on a leash.
Trail Info: Getting to the State Park is pretty easy and there are a lot of signs. From Escalante head west along highway 12 for about 1 mile until you see a sign pointing to the State Park on the right. The entrance fee to the park is $8 per vehicle.
GPS: Trailhead = 37.787131,-111.630448
Please comment below to share your experience at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park or hiking the Sleeping Rainbows Trail. Don’t forget to register to receive the Travel Tom’s Newsletter by submitting your email in the bar above.