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Painted Desert

Outdoor $
State Parks, Caves & Caverns, Hiking Trails, Camping, School Trip, Healthy/Active, Educational, Cultural, Historical, Touristy, Volunteer/Charity, Green
Painted Desert, Apache County, , AZ

Activity Overview

Located in the same National Park as the similarly impressive Petrified Forest, Arizona's Painted Desert offers terrific views of an otherworldly landscape. Spread out over a staggering 93,500 acres this area is full of rock formations which display fabulous colors which include various shades of pinks, oranges, grays and reds. It is an unforgettable landscape which is also home to an enormous amount of human history. It is said that the first peoples came here shortly after the last Ice Age and ever since that time people have been amazed by the rugged beauty of this place.

Things to Do

  • If you are short on time then you can drive around and see much of the Painted Desert without having to get out of your car too often. However if you have the time it is highly recommended to park the car and set out on one of the trails. This is the best way to connect with this great landscape.
  • This National Park is the only National Park through which the Historic Route 66 runs. Today there is only a trace of the road though the old telephone poles that ran alongside it can still be seen. To find out more about this icon of American culture in the 20th century you should stop into the Painted Desert Inn. This Inn once served as a road stop for weary travelers and today is full of information on the famous route.

Painted Desert Insider Tips

  • Once you have paid the entrance fee you are granted admission to the park for seven days. Remember that in this time you can also fit in a visit to the Petrified Desert which is definitely worth it!
  • Be warned that temperatures can get very hot here in the summer months so if you are planning on hiking maybe organize it in the spring or during fall.

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