The Painted Desert

It’s stunning; plain and simple. And a surprisingly small National Park. Out of the way, depending on which way you’re going, but worth the time.

The Painted Desert

Can’t be more appropriately named!

painted desert

While gorgeous, it was also brutal the day I was there: not desert sun, but 33 degrees and incredibly strong wind. Out of the car, oooh, ahhh, take a picture, back in the car.

driving through the Painted Desert

See more of the glory. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

The Petrified Forest

It’s in the same place, and surprising in its own right. The trees lived in the Late Triassic Period, roughly 225 million years ago. Since then, they’ve colored and crystallized.

Signs, a movie, and guards at entrance-and-exit warn and ask you about taking the rocks-that-were-trees. They’re right there–it’s easy to understand the temptation. Slivers abound.  And so do ethics.

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

5 Responses


Too cool! The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert in one stop!! Loving it. And must do that. I will try to shoot for a warmer day though. 33 degrees and windy is brutal.

Thank you for blogging about your amazing journey. It may take me a year to get to all the wonderful spots you have helped me add to my travel list…

Regina – you know…you could take off and buy my camper! 🙂


What? You didn’t ask us a question; I’m reeling at the challenge of coming up with my own material.

I bought a slice of petrified tree at Anthropologie, and now I’m paranoid that it was illegally sourced. It’s about five inches in diameter and one inch deep, clearly a slice of a branch or small tree. It has beautiful rings and a tiny wedge split out, showing that the branch had some kind of damage before it was petrified.

Your photos, as usual, are beautiful, thank you!

Jeannine – I asked it in my head, but evidently it never made it to the post! “Have you ever been tempted to take something?”

I can’t answer about your “blood diamond” of petrified tree. There are tons of stores around the park selling them, including chunks of trunk. Found elsewhere? Forced petrification? I don;t know the answers. And chose not to shop at the stores.


Amazing pictures and wonderful commentary.

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