I set out to see Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It would be educational I thought, and the kids would like it. Our Family Mission Trip was over, and we had a couple of days to sight see. We figured we would see the Petrified Forest in say 30 minutes and move along on our road trip. How wrong we were. We spent about three hours and that’s because we were trying to hurry, but really wanted to see it all.
This map screen shot from Petrified Forest National Park Website shows where we entered the park. Exit 311 is considered the north entrance. From there to the exit at the south entrance is 28 miles! Along the road are many lookout points at scenic and historical sites. I entered the park looking for petrified wood, but what I found was The Painted Dessert as that is first along the trail.
Imagine my surprise when I stopped at the first point and saw this! The Painted Desert is a perfect name, for indeed it looks like a huge canvas. It is breathtaking!
A friend had said he’d been to the Petrified Forest and thought it was a, “yawn.” Now maybe he was comparing this to taking a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon or some such activity and this is less thrilling, but if you love beauty then come along with me.
There are a variety of trails to explore if you so choose. As we were in a hurry we did explore the shorter trails which were all wide and safe for kids. There were so many stops that we didn’t require the kids to get out of the van at each one. They could usually see the beautiful scenery from the van.
I loved that I caught my daughter taking in the sights, sounds, and feeling the wind. It’s so beautiful, you just wish you could fly!
I took so many photos it was hard to choose just a few to share. Throughout the Points to stop the Painted Desert varies somewhat, but is so beautiful at each point.
Painted Desert Inn is a National Historic Landmark. It was first built by Herbert Lore in the 1920s and was made of an abundant local resource, petrified wood! The Inn has had many changes, but you can still petrified wood above the door to imagine what it must have looked like.
All of these beautiful sights, and I still wondered where the Petrified Forest was, but there was much more to see before my first sight of petrified wood…