If you live in Arizona, chances are you have been to The Painted Desert or have heard of it and been curious at wanting to go. Let me tell you that it is well worth every minute!
It’s simply gorgeous!
The Painted Desert is a beautiful desert of badlands in the Four Corners area – it runs from the east end of the Grand Canyon National Park southeast to the Petrified Forest National Park.
It’s a great way to spend time with the family and travel the state – we included The Painted Desert in a few of our recent travel posts:
History of The Painted Desert
The Painted Desert was named by Francisco Vazquez de Coronado in 1540 on his quest to find the Seven Cities of Cibola 40 miles east of the Petrified Forest National Park. Passing through the area, they named the area “El Desierto Pintado” or, The Painted Desert.
The Painted Desert encompasses just over 93,000 acres – and features rocks in the color of red, orange, and pink, rich grays and even a deep shade of lavender. A large portion of The Painted Desert is located within the Navajo Nation.
The desert is the result of everything from volcanic eruptions to floods, and earthquakes.
All of those events shaped the area into deposits of clay and sandstone that look incredibly beautiful when they are caught by the Arizona sun.
To Get There
To get to The Painted Desert, take 1-40 just 25 miles east of Holbrook – you’ll get off the main freeway and have the opportunity to start at the Painted Desert Visitor Center.
At the visitor center, get in touch with the landscape through exhibits and videos – pick ukp some information about the park and grab a map. Head out of the visitor center and access the National Park – admission varies from $10 (single entrant, bike or walk) or $20 for a car load – and drive the loop of the park.
The Painted Desert Landmark is 2 miles from the park’s north entrance and serves as a vantage point to see the National Park. The National Park offers hikes, a 10 mile paved road for non-hikers that allows you to see the beautiful colors and rock formations and vantage
Along the Way
The area of The Painted Desert offers more places to visit and stay – make it a mini family vacation by picking up lodging in Flagstaff overnight, or staying in Winslow. You can also find a cabin or lodge in Holbrook, too.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site: 38 miles north of 1-40, from exit 333, and 1 mile west of Ganado. This store is preserved as if it was the 1870’s – find beautiful rugs rom Navajo weavers.
Stewart’s Petrified Wood Trading Post: Rocks, gems and petrified wood – marked by family of animated dinosaurs at, exit 303 off I-40.
Painted Desert Inn: A Rte 66 Landmark during the 1920’s & 1930’s – converted into a museum and a bookstore in the 1960’s. The Inn features Navajo rugs, furnishings, and sand paintings and overlooks the Painted Desert.
Have you been to The Painted Desert?
Find out how you can get a FREE or discounted National Parks Pass.