Feb 1 2005

Petrified Wood at Mesa de Cuba, NM

Last Saturday I had the day off! No baby-sitting, no work, no photos to shoot – what would I do with a whole day off?

I went to Borders in the morning and picked up a copy of Gem Trails of New Mexico. I quickly scanned through it and looked for a location that featured “petrified wood”. For whatever reason I recently became fascinated with the idea of collecting rocks, minerals in New Mexico. Perhaps because I remembered my childhood when my parents, brother and I would drive to the Noerdlinger Ries area to hunt for fossils?

Anyway, after flipping through the book I found a place closeby that would do. “Cuba” to the north-west of us, only about 100 miles of a scenic drive away (with Valles Caldera being the most magical part of the trip).

It was totally worth it. I found the place described in the book and I was the only one there walking through the clay hills and looking for rocks. Here’s a view of the area from where I parked the car. The specimens can be found on the bottom of the hills/mesa in the distance.

Be careful when you hike there, because the ground is extremely slippery when wet. I was close to landing on my ass several times, but somehow avoided full-frontal contact with the mud.

Petrified wood and petrified palm can be found all over the place. It’s incredible trying to imagine that millions of years ago I would have walked in a lush forest there.
Here’s a very small piece I took home with me (there are larger ones, but they are still being “washed” by the rain/snow outside):

In case anybody is interested to follow my footsteps, you can use the map below to find the place I was at (click on it to enlarge it):

9 Responses to “Petrified Wood at Mesa de Cuba, NM”

  • kahunaburger » Angel Peak, Farmington and Chaco Canyon Says:

    […] wood in the past (in 2005 I had paid this area a visit and you can read more about that trip here). We park the car in the middle of nowhere and hike around the areas where there is usually some […]

  • Barbara Says:

    You are not supposed to pick up and take. You leave them there so other people can look at them and enjoy them also.

  • tobias Says:

    Barbara, as mentioned in a private email to you: I’m all with you when it comes to sharing rare, precious natural items with others and not removing them from their original location. I also mention that this, in my humble opinion, applies to “rare” items.
    I have no idea how many tons of petrified wood are at this location (there are whole trees). I also have no idea how many tons are produced with every rain, but I suspect the sum is more than you can pack on any large truck at the moment. I have about a pound of petrified wood from that location in my possession. Yes, I feel bad for taking it, but in the grand scheme of things, I did not consider my taking making any measurable impact. So, please forgive me.

  • Leonard B. Wallace Says:

    It is not illegal to collect on BLM land.
    you may collect as much as 25 pounds of petrified wood, plus one piece per day, for your personal use. You may collect as much as 250 pounds of petrified wood in any calender year. There is more, if anyone is interested see BLM. For the rest of the rules.

  • Chris Says:

    Barbara..you’re so politically correct. I don’t need a stupid law to tell me its wrong to pick up a few pieces of rock to show my friends and family. The rock will most certainly outlast all of us, so there’s no danger of it being lost to the world! duh.

  • Mark Says:

    I pick up petrified wood here at my work site every day for lunch. I have probably moved about 10 tons of it over the past 3 years. I hand pick through it and save the best stuff for my Mom’s rock garden in Wyoming, and the rest of it I put in barrels outside for the rest of the guys, and they use it for rock gardens at their houses. Every rainstorm produces more, and this stuff would go totally unappreciated if it weren’t collected and used.

  • Mike Says:

    This is a great site. But you might also consider the lands near Toadlena & Two Grey Hills Trading Post. Really beautiful agatized and petrified woods. Although this is on Navaho Res. you can get permission to hunt (free permit?) from the Navaho Nation Hdqts. at Window Rock, Ariz. The folks there were very accomadating. They just ask you limit youself to around 25 lbs. of material, and of course respect the land and peoples of this area

  • ken Says:

    I’ll take that rock, take me a deer and clean my trout with it. Just what i need and nothing more. Healing, hunting, meditation, herb garden, theses are good reasons to take the stone, or any stone. Theirs more to it than just what meats the eye. Not for greed, only for life should u take the stone.

  • Mike K Says:

    Barbara. If we went by your rules, don’t take a seashell from a beach, don’t use coal in your stove, don’t buy any jewelry because most is made from stones, minerals , or metals, don’t collect sharks teeth at the beach, don’t use sandstone or limestone to make blocks to build. The point is we all use natural items everyday, that’s why we are more advanced than primates, as long as we respect our natural resources we CAN use them. There is plenty of petrified wood in new Mexico, its everywhere so a few tons taken won’t destroy anything

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