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Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park

4.5
#7 of 12 in Things to do in Petrified Forest National Park
Landmark Tourist Spot
Painted Desert Inn is located in Petrified Forest National Park. Put Painted Desert Inn on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Petrified Forest National Park itinerary builder.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
111 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Great stop in the middle of nowhere. Old hotel memorabilia and pictures and fantastic views from the patio.  more »
  • Its a fascinating building for sure and it definitely looks authentic and cultural, yet amidst all the beautiful landscapes, it was hard to see the point of visiting Painted Desert Inn. If you are spe...  more »
  • We enjoyed our stop at the Painted Desert Inn-Lot of history-- interesting facts-walk around outside for some great views/pictures- some of original furniture on display-Hubby enjoyed getting an ice c...  more »
Google
  • The Painted Desert Inn is one of the remaining Harvey House hotels that were located along the Santa Fe Railroad during the Golden Age of rail travel. Today, it is open for visitors to see and has a small gift store. It is no longer possible to stay in the inn but visitors are welcome to wander the open areas of the inn. Of particular note are the glass ceiling above the main staircase and the carvings on the backs of the stools at the old coffee shop. Taking a ranger guided tour is recommended as they will take you down to the small rooms that the Harvey Girl staff members stayed in while they worked here. The Inn also provides the only trailhead down into the Painted Desert. The trail is steep as it switchbacks off the top of the bluff the Inn is on. Once down the slope, the trail follows a dry wash until it comes out into the open desert. Back country hiking is possible but should not be undertaken unless you are experienced with overland navigation as the trail is not well marked and eventually completely disappears. Also keep in mind this is the desert so bring an adequate supply of water. Hikers should be aware of weather conditions as flash floods can occur in this area, even when there is no rain in the immediate vicinity. Water and restrooms are available here. If you are just entering the Park, this will be your last place to get water until you reach the Rainbow Forest visitor center 25 miles (40 km) to the south. The next restroom is 9 miles (14 km) away at the Puerco Pueblo so plan accordingly. The parking includes parking for RVs and buses.
  • Not much to this place. Mainly just an empty building with a couple of displays and a docent.
  • Great view of the Painted Desert to cap off a visit to the Petrified Forest.
  • Beautiful view and the park Rangers were super informative and helpful!
  • Awesome views, neat building.

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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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