Our national parks are, without a doubt, among our country’s greatest treasures. A stop at Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park confirmed this as we toured the totally unexpected landscapes straddling Interstate 40. Beginning at the Painted Desert Visitors Center, we followed our map into the smaller northern part of the park where multicolored landscapes stretched for miles.
At one time Historic Route 66 passed through a portion of the park. Today a few reminders remain. The Painted Desert Inn, once a host to weary travelers, is now a museum with exhibits featuring memories of bygone days. What’s left of a rusty old 1932 Studebaker sits alongside old telephone poles that once lined the famous route.
We discovered our favorite walk in the larger southern part of the park. The Blue Mesa Badlands mile-long walk is not to be missed. A paved path leads down through the unusual blue and purple hills where chunks of petrified wood are strewn about.
Farther down the road there is ample opportunity to view a phenomenal amount petrified wood…all that remains of what was once an ancient tropical forest. Trees buried millions of years ago have reappeared as beautiful polished stone. What Mother Nature can do is simply unbelievable. Don’t miss this park!