Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona’s Gallery

While the Petrified Forest National Park is widely celebrated for its vibrant petrified wood remnants, I find the stark beauty of the badlands even more captivating. These vivid landscapes, though not as vast as Arizona’s Grand Canyon, equally dazzle with their rich colors, diversity, and textures.

The park’s less-traveled trails provide a direct and intimate experience of these remarkable views. A leisurely drive through the Petrified Forest National Park, with frequent stops at scenic overlooks, is the best way to appreciate its landscapes. For optimal viewing, visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sunlight enhances the natural beauty.

The midday sun can wash out colors and details, making it difficult to capture good photographs. The park organizes special tours and events that offer deeper insights into its unique attractions. Check their website regularly for the latest activities and opportunities to explore.

Among the park’s highlights is the Painted Desert Inn, a stunning example of Pueblo Revival architecture, which has been welcoming visitors since 1940, originally serving those traveling on Route 66.

Route 66, which ran through the area in the 1930s, was rerouted in the late 1950s to what is now Interstate 40, leaving behind a trail marked by old telephone poles and a park exhibit featuring a 1932 Studebaker next to a preserved section of the original road.

Just outside the park, the legacy of Route 66 continues with vibrant businesses that capture the spirit of the historic highway. A day trip to the Petrified Forest National Park from Albuquerque, about a 3-hour drive each way, is highly recommended. Don’t forget your camera! For more information, visit the official Petrified Forest National Park website.