Finding petrified wood in Alabama can be complicated and challenging without the right help. Petrified wood hunters have a hard time in this state because it is so big and has many different landscapes.
But the reward is worth the work, as petrified wood is unique and beautiful. Petrified wood hunters are lucky that there are now many great ways to increase their chances of success.
Alabama has everything, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have a great time exploring the wonders of petrified wood! Embrace the spirit of discovery, and let the state’s petrified wood lead you on a fantastic trip through time.
What Is Alabama Petrified Wood
Petrified wood is just a unique and beautiful work of nature, and every part shows how people lived in the past. Not only are they ancient, but the colors and patterns carved into their stone surfaces are also very interesting.
Each piece of petrified wood has its own story to tell. The complex rings and striations show a moment in time as clearly as a painter’s canvas. The reds, browns, yellows, and even blues in the wood’s patterns and colors are stunning.
You’re not just holding a piece of wood anymore. You’re holding a part of history, a reminder of the fantastic things that have happened on Earth to shape it into what it is today.
Once you’ve been to every location in the state, you can look at our detailed guide to see where you can find petrified wood close to you. We will continue to add more details about each state.
The types of petrified wood found in Alabama
In Alabama, there are many kinds of petrified wood. Here are some examples of petrified wood from the state.
Agatized petrified wood, also called just “agatized wood,” is a type of fossilized wood in which the original wood has been replaced by agate. Agate is a type of chalcedony, quartz made up of tiny crystals.
During the petrification process, minerals slowly replace the wood’s cellular structure. Agate is one of the most common minerals that do this. When a tree falls or is buried in sediment, agatized wood forms.
Agatized petrified wood is often used to make jewelry, cabochons, and decorative pieces. It’s a fascinating look into the past because the petrification process keeps the tree’s growth rings and other unique features, making it a natural art.
Opalized petrified wood is a type of petrified wood in which the original organic material has been replaced by opal. Opal is a hydrated form of silica, and when it fills in the holes and cells of petrified wood, it makes opalized petrified wood.
This unique process gives opalized petrified wood a stunning play of colors and a mesmerizing iridescence that sets it apart from other types of petrified wood.
To make opal’s famous play of colors, the opalization process must occur under certain conditions. Opal comprises tiny spheres that scatter light and make it look like a rainbow.
This is called opalescence. When these spheres line up, they make the shimmering and flashes of color that are unique to opalized petrified wood.
Palm petrified wood
Petrified palm wood is a type of petrified wood that comes from ancient palm trees. Millions of years ago, these trees were alive. Through a fascinating process called “petrification,” their organic material has been replaced by minerals, so their cellular structure has been preserved in stone.
The most exciting thing about petrified palm wood is its patterns, which look like the tree’s growth rings. Collectors and fans are very interested in these patterns because they give a glimpse into the past and the variety of plants that used to be around.
During the petrification process, the colors and mineral content of the groundwater affect how the palm wood turns out. Each piece of petrified palm wood is a unique and beautiful example of how nature works its magic.
The tools every petrified wood hunter will need
When you're out looking for petrified wood having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.
We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced petrified wood hunters which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.
Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.
At a minimum you should have:
1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard
2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set
3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well
4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill
5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable
6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to
7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect
The petrified wood-finding books that we use most
There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:
We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.
The Best Places To Find Petrified Wood In Alabama
Here are the most amazing places in the state to find petrified wood. Even though there are more places to go rockhounding in Alabama, you can also try to do it to see more petrified wood.
Black Warrior Creek shows how much time has passed. The creek’s basin has a lot of sedimentary rocks that formed in ancient riverbeds and lakes millions of years ago. There is a treasure trove of petrified wood in these sedimentary layers.
As you follow the winding path of Black Warrior Creek, you’ll see many different kinds of scenery. The landscape here is as varied as it is beautiful. As far as the eye can see, there are lush forests, rolling hills, and green valleys.
Its geological history and unique terrain make it an excellent location to find a plethora of petrified wood specimens. With a keen eye and a sense of adventure, you may discover ancient trees immortalized in stone, showcasing the captivating beauty that nature has preserved for generations to come.
Where we found petrified wood at Black Warrior River
Demopolis is along the Black Warrior River, known to have areas with petrified wood. To find these ancient treasures, you can look along riverbanks and in exposed sedimentary rock formations.
Before you bring home all the petrified wood you found in Alabama, ensure you know the updated state collecting rules.
The lovely Cahaba River that flows through Alabama has much more to offer than just beautiful views and calm floats. It’s a treasure trove of geological wonders, different landscapes, and exciting terrain, making it a popular place for people who want to find petrified wood and love nature.
Floating down the Cahaba River, you’ll see many landscapes, and you can check out its twists and turns. There are lush forests, dreamy valleys, and even some beautiful bluffs. It gives you access to ancient trees turned into timeless treasures.
Where we found petrified wood at Cahaba River
Start your search along the riverbanks and exposed sedimentary rock formations. The natural erosion from the river’s flow might reveal some petrified wood specimens.
This hidden gem in Alabama isn’t like most places to hike. It’s a geological wonderland that will make you lose your breath. Chalk Bluffs has everything, from beautiful views to the many petrified woods you can discover.
The layers of chalky limestone that make up the bluffs give them their unique look and name. This old rock formation is a treasure chest for people who want to find petrified wood.
If you hike through Chalk Bluffs, you can expect to see some amazing things. The geography is something from another planet! The bluffs look out over the Cahaba River and provide sweeping views.
Where we found petrified wood at the Chalk Bluffs
Explore the base of the chalk bluffs where erosion and weathering may expose petrified wood fragments that have become dislodged from the rock layers.
You should also keep an eye on gravel beds and scree slopes at the foot of the bluffs. Petrified wood may be mixed in with other rocks and debris.
Adventure at Coosa River is waiting around every bend. This lively river isn’t just a place to splash around; it’s also a geological wonderland with a twist of history that’s perfect for anyone looking for petrified wood.
The river’s basin is made up of many different kinds of sedimentary rocks, and there is always a chance of finding petrified wood where there is sedimentary rock. Mineral-rich water did its magic over time, turning old trees into real-life stone works of art.
Where we found petrified wood at the Coosa River
Start your search on the banks of the river. Along the water’s edge, pieces of petrified wood could be exposed by erosion and other natural processes.
Tallapoosa river isn’t just great for kayaking; it’s also a geological wonderland that will make any petrified wood hunter’s heart skip a beat!
As you float down the Tallapoosa River, you will see many different kinds of scenery. From thick forests to rolling hills to sandy riverbanks, the land is a great place to explore.
Many people have found beautiful things in the Tallapoosa River, which makes it a great place for fossil hunters and other curious explorers.
Where we found petrified wood at Tallapoosa River
Look for exposed rock layers along the river. Petrified wood might be embedded within the sedimentary rocks.
In areas where water levels are low, such as during dry seasons, you might be able to search the riverbed for petrified wood. Please be cautious and avoid disturbing the riverbed.
Other Great Places To Find Alabama Petrified Wood
After suggesting the best locations where to find petrified wood in Alabama, we can give you more excellent places to find these specimens. We put them in order by county to make things easier.
General Areas You Should Try
We want to make sure your search works because Alabama is a big state. Knowing places where petrified wood is often found should get more of your attention.
Petrified wood collectors will love the shores of lakes because they are a treasure trove of fossilized wood. How to find petrified wood on lake shores has to do with the geological history of the area.
In the past, dense forests surrounded lakes, and trees fell into the water or were carried there by natural forces. Erosion and natural processes continually reveal new specimens, as the water’s edge exposes fragments of these ancient trees.
Rivers and riverbanks
Petrified wood can be found in sedimentary rocks, which can be found in rivers and along their banks. Pieces of these fossilized trees can be seen along the river’s edge because of the constant flow of water, erosion, and other natural processes.
Petrified wood is often found in gravel bars and sandy areas, where rocks and sediment can hide these ancient treasures. It’s also made easier by the different types of land along riverbanks. From rocky outcrops to sandy stretches, the landscape has many places where fossilized remains can be found.
Streams and creeks
Streams and creeks are great places to see sedimentary rocks, which are where you can find petrified wood. At the water’s edge, the slow flow of water and other natural processes slowly reveal pieces of these old trees.
Streams and creeks are also easy to get to and interesting for collectors of all ages because they are usually not very big.
Petrified wood hunting is fun because the land around streams and creeks is so varied. From rocky shores to sandy beaches, there are plenty of places to look for fossilized remains.
Common Questions About Finding Petrified Wood In Alabama
The following questions need to be answered about petrified wood in Alabama.
How old is petrified wood in Alabama?
The age of petrified wood in Alabama depends on where it is found and what kind of geology is there. Most petrified wood found in Alabama dates back to the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods, which means it is usually between 251 million and 66 million years old.
Can you find petrified palm wood in Alabama?
Petrified palm wood can be found in various locations throughout Alabama, especially in areas with sedimentary rock formations and ancient riverbeds where petrified wood is known to be present.
The Best Places To Buy Petrified Wood In Alabama
Not everybody wants to spend the whole day looking for petrified wood outdoors. Sometimes, you just want to add something new to your collection or give it as a gift. Here are some Alabama rock shops that sell petrified wood: