Explore Patagonia Puerto Madryn Península Valdés Trelew and Gaiman: the Welsh heartland Punta Tombo and Cabo Dos Bahías The coast of Santa Cruz Province Río Gallegos El Calafate Glaciar Perito Moreno El Chaltén The Fitz Roy sector of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares Parque Nacional Perito Moreno Perito Moreno and around Sarmiento and the Bosque Petrificado Share Two kilometres from the centre of town, a clearly signposted gravel track off the RN-26 leads 30km to the BOSQUE PETRIFICADO SARMIENTO. Here, perfectly preserved 65-million-year-old trunks are randomly strewn across a near-lunar setting with a stunning purple-and-orange cliff backdrop. The petrified forest – formed by mineral-rich water permeating the wood over hundreds of thousands of years, effectively turning the trees into stone – has parallels with the Monumento Natural Bosques Petrificados in Santa Cruz Province, but its bands of “painted desert” soils are more striking and erosion processes are much more visible here. Traversing the two-kilometre circuit is rather like walking around a sawmill, the ground covered by splinters of bark and rotten wood that chink under foot, except that these woodchips are Mesozoic. The highlight is a famous and much photographed chunk of hollow fossilized log that looks like nature’s take on a giant drainage pipe. Remises from the town will run you to the park and back for around $120 including a ninety-minute wait; ask at tourist office if you want a guide. Take water, sunscreen and hats as the sun can be very strong, as can the winds. There are toilets in the park but no other services.