George W. Lund Petrified Forest – Gerlach, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

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George W. Lund Petrified Forest

A little-known occurrence of fossil wood in northern Washoe County, Nevada, near the Black Rock Desert. 


Named for the person who fought to get the site protected, the George W. Lund Petrified Forest originally contained large fossil logs fully as spectacular as any in the world. It was particularly remarkable because the site included fossil stumps in place. (The phrase “petrified” wood lives on in popular usage, but contemporary paleontologists just refer to “fossil” wood.)

The area was once known as the Leadville Petrified Forest, but it was renamed in honor of George W. Lund in 1965. Lund had witnessed the unique landscape being destroyed by prospectors and commercial exploitation. He began organizing meetings, writing letters, lobbying the Nevada state government to preserve and protect its fossil wood landscapes.

Unfortunately, many logs were carried away before the protections were finally implemented, but a few large specimens still remain at the site. Some have been further protected by being enclosed in chain-link cages. Not all of the specimens have been enclosed, but they remain legally protected nonetheless. Please take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Know Before You Go

The site is on Washoe County Rd. 34 some 43 miles north of Gerlach, of which the first 20 miles or so are paved and the rest graded.   In dry weather ordinary passenger cars should have no trouble. The site is on the left (south) side and is marked with a small parking area. 

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December 14, 2021

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