Here’s what I don’t get: the Painted Desert covers thousands of acres, but doesn’t merit national park status on its own. Instead, it’s bundled like an afterthought into the Petrified Forest National Park. This is hard luck for the rainbow hills because there are a lot more of them than there are fossilized trees. I guess someone thought Petrified Forest was a cooler name.
We left Holbrook early so that we could take a short walk before the temperature rose to an unmanageable level. The Painted Desert is a lot like Grand Canyon but on a less dramatic scale. Same principle though; layers of differently colored materials deposited on top of one another then exposed by erosion. There was also some volcanic activity here as evidenced by a caldera. It’s in the first photo below. Can you spot it?
Consider this but the briefest of introductions to the Painted Desert. We needed to get on the road to Santa Fe so only spent an hour or so in the park. We will visit again on our way back to Scottsdale. There may even be bonus photos of Jim Gray’s Rock Shop.
Speaking of bonus photos, here’s another motel along Route 66 in Holbrook that I had to show you.