While we were stating in Homolivi State Park we took a ride down to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. What a interesting place. It is amazing to us the things have developed over the thousands of years and what has been left behind. The land here was once a vast river/flood way and over the years the fallen trees were washed down the river, were covered with silt and petrified. Then over the years chemicals such as iron and magnesium colored the petrified wood.
Along with the trees from the forest there were thick layers of sandstone and conglomerate that formed what is called the Rainbow Forest. These was just as amazing as the petrified logs themselves.
There are a lot of stops along the way as you drive the park, each have their own amazing views and story. Here are few:
Agate Bridge – petrified log across a stone ridge that is nature made.
Blue Mesa Loop is really something that is unique and has a trail that you can hike down to the valley.
Newspaper Rock is another unique site as it is the location of the 600+ petroglyphs.
r From there you come to Puerco Pueblo, one the largest prehistoric site of a ancestral Puebloan village. The area has been partially excavated and you can see from here the layout of the village. There is also more petroglyphs along the rock cliffs that are very visible.
From here your drive continues over I-40 into the Painted Desert; you get two parks in one during this drive and can enter from the Painted Desert area just off I-40 or enter from the Petrified Forest area just east of Winslow. Either way is is a very interesting drive and one that is worth the time.
Painted Desert – depending on the time of the day or evening you enter the area looks different and the colors vary. Late evening the best time to visit.
The Painted Desert Inn is now a visitor center and snack area. At one time I can see it was a great place and a wonderful place to have visited sitting out watching the sun go down over the desert.