Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park

4.8
#1 of 12 in Things to do in Petrified Forest National Park
Like a striking canvas, the Painted Desert builds layer upon layer of color on hills made of siltstone, mudstone, and shale. The resulting view highlights the region's name, alternating oranges, white, reds, and pinks. This badlands area was formed of volcanic rock and limestone revealed by erosion over the years. Drive through the region along a paved road that stretches over plateaus on Navajo land with many lookout points. Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Painted Desert by using our Petrified Forest National Park online vacation planner .
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Painted Desert Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
2,178 reviews
Google
5.0
TripAdvisor
  • Just off route 40 the north entrance is inviting. Visitor Center has a theater and souvenirs to purchase. Good place to stretch the legs after along drive. Very Cool pieces of petrified wood. Diagrams...  more »
  • This was a beautiful place to visit! The Pained Desert is by far the best place to visit while at the Petrified Forest. The park as a whole is average compared to others, but this area adds to its val...  more »
  • Perhaps one of the best things you can do while driving on the road is to stop here and visit the park. The staff is super friendly at the visitor center, providing both maps and tips on how to thorou...  more »
Google
  • A beautiful trip. Worth the drive from wherever you are coming from. The colors at sunset are amazing, like a real life painting.
  • The rangers were very pleasant and helpful with the kids. Junior Ranger badges and patches along with the packets. Store prices seem much more reasonable than Grand Canyon NP. Video is worth the watch and the drive is at least an hour but completely worth it. Southern stop of the loop includes dinosaurs.
  • Nestled near the Petrified Forest National Park the Painted Desert has a number of breath taking vistas that don't require a hike. Although, if hiking is your thing, trails and badlands weave through this Arizona gem. Don't forget to stop by the gift shop for some beautiful native art and colorful mementos before finding your favorite spot to watch the sun set.
  • Very pretty place! I wasn't expecting to see as many good views as we did. Definitely worth the little detour it took to get us here on our cross country road trip. Try to go during "Golden Hour" to get the best photos and you won't regret the small detour!
  • Beautiful sight everyone should see. Absolutely breathtaking. God's handiwork at his best. Amazing.

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Where to stay in Petrified Forest National Park

Since most visitors drive through Petrified Forest National Park, you won't find any developed accommodations inside the park. If you're not prepared to camp in the backcountry, pitch a tent at one of the campgrounds near the highway or bunk down in one of the travelers' motels in Holbrook, which lies about 32 km (20 mi) west of the park.
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14 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, kids, outdoors, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, kids, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 51 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Petrified Forest National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, relaxing, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA October, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Petrified Forest National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Petrified Forest National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Arizona, Zion National Park & Bryce Canyon National Park BY A USER FROM CANADA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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