Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park

4.6
#5 of 12 in Things to do in Petrified Forest National Park
Painted Desert Inn is located in Petrified Forest National Park. Put Painted Desert Inn and other Petrified Forest National Park attractions into our Petrified Forest National Park trip planning tool , and watch your holiday take shape.
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Painted Desert Inn Reviews
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  • You can't stay here any more, but it is neat to see some of the history of this area come to life. You can still visit the inn, which is recommended. Great views surrounding the inn as well. Worth vis...  more »
  • Painted Desert Inn was well worth a stop. The historic Inn would have been a wonderful place to stop over for a stay in the old days. The views are like looking out at a picture post card. There are s...  more »
  • The architect of this former way stop for Rte. 66 travelers is Mary Colter, the same woman who designed La Posada, the last and most elegant of the Harvey House Hotels in Winslow, AZ. Built in the 192...  more »
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  • 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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