The 20 Proven Areas To Find Washington Petrified Wood in 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 20 Proven Areas To Find Washington Petrified Wood in 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Washington state is known for its varied geological formations and many fossils, but it takes a bit of knowledge to find the exact spots where petrified wood can be located.

The Evergreen State is a big state with many dense forests, rough mountains, and rivers. It’s easy to get lost or waste time looking in the wrong places because the landscape is so big.

Petrified wood hunters in Washington State are lucky that there are resources to help them. You can go on treasure hunts with more confidence and a higher chance of finding these fantastic natural wonders in the state with our help!

What Is Washington Petrified Wood

A beautiful white petrified wood log
Petrified wood photo provided by and available for purchase at HarmonyRanchCrafts

Petrified wood shows how beautiful nature can be, with colors that range from bright reds and yellows to earthy browns and greens. These old pieces of wood have gone through a fascinating process called “fossilization.”

Over millions of years, organic matter has been replaced by minerals, making for a stunning change. Each piece is different and has a story about ancient forests and geological changes.

In Washington state, petrified wood is commonly found in areas with ancient volcanic activity and diverse geological formations. Exploring riverbeds, cliffs, and eroded slopes in these areas may unveil hidden treasures of petrified wood, offering a glimpse into Washington’s ancient natural history.

Once you’ve seen everything in our state, you can look at our detailed guide to know where you can find petrified wood near you. For each state, we’re always adding new information.

The types of petrified wood found in Washington

Each type of petrified wood in Washington has its characteristics. Here are some types of petrified wood found in the state.

Conifer petrified wood

Conifer petrified wood is the remains of long-dead coniferous trees. Conifers are a group of trees that have cones. This group includes pine, fir, spruce, and hemlock. When these trees turn to stone, their organic matter is replaced by minerals. The tree’s structure stays the same, but the wood turns to stone.

The minerals can impart various colors and patterns to the conifer petrified wood during petrification. These colors can range from golden yellows and browns to deep reds and purples, depending on the types of minerals present and the specific geological conditions during the petrification process.

Gingko petrified wood

Ginkgo is a unique and ancient tree species that has survived for millions of years virtually unchanged. When ginkgo trees undergo petrification, their organic material is replaced by minerals, preserving the tree’s structure while transforming the wood into stone.

The formation process of ginkgo petrified wood begins when fallen ginkgo trees are buried under layers of sediment, protecting them from decay and exposure to oxygen.

Ginkgo petrified wood often showcases distinct grain patterns, vibrant colors, and intricate details. The colors can vary widely, ranging from reds and yellows to blues and purples, depending on the specific minerals present during the petrification process and the geological conditions of the area.

Spruce petrified wood

Spruce trees belong to the coniferous family, known for their needle-like leaves and cone-bearing reproductive structures.

The formation process of spruce petrified wood starts when fallen spruce trees are buried under layers of sediment, protecting them from decay and exposure to oxygen.

Spruce petrified wood often exhibits characteristic grain patterns, rich colors, and preserved features. The colors can range from brown and black to gray, and the specimens may retain the distinct growth rings and even the textures of the original bark.

How We Found Petrified Wood in Washington
Petrified wood can be pretty tough to find in our state if you aren’t strategic about your search. We’ve compiled a list of great locations where you can find it from a number of proven sources. These are the main inputs we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience of our team
  • Input from a variety of local rockhounds and rockhound groups
  • The difficulty in accessing a location
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both the experienced and newbie hunters who are just starting out

Using these inputs we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding petrified wood for our collections!

Rock pick being used

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:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America 

Northwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northwestern Quadrant 

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 Washington

Here’s a list of the excellent places to find petrified wood in the state. Even though rockhounding in Washington is more general, you can try it to discover more petrified wood.

Always Confirm Access and Collection Rules!

Before heading out to any of the locations on our list you need to confirm access requirements and collection rules for both public and private locations.

These requirements are subject to change without notice and may differ from what we state below.

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding.

Columbia River

A beautiful aerial view of the Columbia River featuring the hillsides and mountains beside it

The Columbia River is a beautiful body of water in the state of Washington. It starts in British Columbia, Canada, and flows about 1,243 miles to the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River has had a big impact on the geography and history of the area, and it also has a lot of interesting places to explore.

The geography of the Columbia River is a mix of tall cliffs, deep gorges, and wide floodplains. The river flows through the Cascade Range and cuts through the Columbia River Gorge, which is a beautiful canyon known for its stunning views.

There are lush forests, dry plateaus, and fertile valleys in the area, giving ancient trees a variety of places to live and grow.

Where we found petrified wood at the Columbia River

Exploring the riverbanks, cliffs, and nearby areas along the Columbia River gives you the chance to find many different kinds of petrified wood. Each piece gives you a glimpse into the ancient forests and geological processes that have shaped this beautiful area.

Make sure you know the rules and regulation for collecting before you try to take your petrified wood out of Washington state.

Frenchman Hills

A gorgeous tiny waterfall at the Frenchman Hills

Situatued east of the Cascade Range, Frenchman Hills boats a distinct geology, captivating geography, and diverse terrain that make it a great and ideal place to look for petrified wood.

The geology of Frenchman Hills is made up of sedimentary deposits and old volcanic activity. Layers of basalt, sandstone, and shale can be found all over the area. These rocks are what helped petrified wood form and stayed in place.

Petrification happens when sediments build up on top of wood that was once alive. Because of this, the area is a good place to find well-preserved specimens that can tell us about Washington State’s ancient forests and geological changes.

Where we found petrified wood at Frenchman Hills

Explorers can traverse the slopes, scour riverbeds, and investigate the eroded slopes to uncover hidden treasures of fossilized wood.

Gingko Petrified Forest State Park

A historic place in the state where there is an abundance of petrified wood you can find

In Washington state, you’ll find Gingko Petrified Forest State Park, which is a fascinating place known for its geological wonders and large amounts of petrified wood.

Because of its unique geological history and the way the Columbia River keeps wearing away at the land, Gingko Petrified Forest State Park is a great place to find petrified wood. Petrified logs have been slowly revealed by erosion, showing intricate patterns and bright colors.

The park gives people a rare chance to see and collect these amazing things, giving you a unique chance to explore a landscape with a lot of natural history and find interesting things that have lasted for a long time.

Where we found petrified wood at the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park

The “Petrified Forest Trail” is the best place to explore and find petrified wood. On this path, you can see an old forest that was covered by volcanic ash millions of years ago.

Along the trail, fossilized logs can be seen in their original places. There are signs on these logs that explain what the trees are and what the geological history of the area is.

Mount Adams

White snow covering Mount Adams with lots of pine trees at its foot.

Mount Adams is a majestic peak and has a long geological history and an interesting landscape to explore. Mount Adams is the second-highest mountain in the state. It’s a great place to find petrified wood and see how geology and ancient forests interact in a fascinating way.

The mountain is made up of alpine meadows, dense forests, and steep, rocky slopes. Glaciers have made deep valleys and U-shaped valleys, which add to the dramatic beauty of the mountain.

Mount Adams’ combination of volcanic activity, diverse geography, and ancient forests makes it a prime location to find petrified wood. Petrified wood is still there and can be seen because of volcanic deposits and erosion that followed.

Where we found petrified wood at Mount Adams

Exploring its different types of terrain gives you the chance to find petrified wood, which can be exposed by erosion and other geological processes.

Saddle Mountains

Tucson Mountain peaks surrounded with lush forests of trees

The Saddle Mountains has a unique geology, beautiful geography, and different types of terrain, which makes them a great place for people who like petrified wood. Its landscape has a wide range of heights and landforms, from gentle hill to steep slopes.

There are dry deserts, deep canyons, and beautiful valleys in the area, so there are many places where petrified wood could be found. The layers of sedimentary rock in the Saddle Mountains, like sandstone, shale, and limestone, make up their geology.

Where we found petrified wood at Saddle Mountain

Within the Saddle Mountain Petrified Forest, there are hiking trails that lead to areas where petrified logs can be observed in their natural setting.

The trails provide access to the petrified wood deposits so you can appreciate the beauty and unique characteristics of these ancient fossilized trees.

Interpretive signs along the trails provide information about the petrified wood and the geological processes that occurred in the region.

Other Great Places To Find Washington Petrified Wood

A scenic view of the Sycamore Canyon with a river flowing in between trees

After giving you recommendations where it’s best to look for petrified wood in the state, we’ll provide you with other great places in Washington where you can find these specimens. To make things easier for you, we’ve put them in order by county.

County Location
Grant Perch Point-Potholes Reservoir
Klickitat Horse Heaven Hills
Klickitat Horseshoe Bend
Klickitat Klickitat River
Lewis Lucas Creek
Lewis Logan Hill
Lewis Salmon Creek
Yakima Rattlesnake Hill
Yakima Cairn Hope Peak
Yakima Cold Creek

General Areas You Should Try

A nice slab of petrified wood

We want to make sure your search works because Washington is a big state. Pay more attention to specific places where petrified wood is often found.

Petrified forests

Petrified forests are great places for people who want to find petrified wood. These special places offer a lot of chances to find amazing things and learn about the mysteries of ancient forests that turned to stone.

Petrified forests are what’s left of once-living forests that have turned into fossils through a fascinating process. The preserved wood in these forests gives you a look into the distant past. They can connect with ancient ecosystems and see how amazing it is how organic matter can change so quickly.

Streams and creeks

Streams and creeks are natural collectors of debris and materials carried downstream. As water moves along its course, it can accumulate petrified wood fragments and transport them, ultimately depositing them along the streambed or in gravel bars.

Water’s constant movement can also polish and smooth the surface of petrified wood, making it look better. The moving water can show the fossilized wood’s intricate details and patterns. This makes it even more interesting to collectors.

Washes and ravines

Petrified wood from ancient forests is sometimes found in these layers, which are made up of sediments. Geological layers that may contain petrified wood can be seen in a unique way on the sides of washes and ravines.

Petrified wood can be found in washes and ravines, but you have to be careful and work hard to find it because the ground can be uneven and dangerous. You should respect the environment and any rules that are in place to keep the natural beauty and integrity of these places.

Common Questions About Finding Petrified Wood In Washington

A gorgeous petrified wood with a beautiful intricate detail

The answers to the following questions about petrified wood in Washington state are important to know.

How old is petrified wood in Washington?

Petrified wood in Washington state can vary in age depending on the specific geological formation and location. Generally, the petrified wood found in the state can range from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of years old.

In some areas, such as the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park near Vantage, the petrified wood dates back approximately 15 million years. This park preserves ancient forests that were buried by volcanic ash and preserved through the process of petrification.

Can you find petrified palm wood in Washington?

Yes, you can find petrified palm wood in Washington state. Petrified palm wood is the fossilized remains of old palm trees that have been turned into rock.

Even though palm trees don’t grow naturally in Washington, fossilized palm wood can still be found in some places because of geological processes and the weather in the past.

The Best Places To Buy Petrified Wood In Washington

Stewart's Petrified Wood Shop in Arizona where you can find and buy petrified wood specimens

Not everybody likes to spend the whole day outside looking for petrified wood. Sometimes, you only need one piece to show off or add to your collection. Here’s a list of rock shops where you can buy petrified wood:

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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