“Painted by nature! Fine grained rock layers contain abundant iron and manganese compounds which provide the pigments for the various colors of the region.”
Painted Desert Visitor Center provides information, book sales, exhibits, and restrooms. Timeless Impressions, a free orientation film about the park, is shown every half hour. A restaurant, gift shop, gas station, and convenience store are adjacent to the visitor center.
If you put painted dessert on your maps it will take you to the middle of nowhere. Make sure to put the “painted dessert county park!” It was totally worth the drive and we stayed hours exploring the dessert and taking pictures.
We went through the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest as part of our Family Amazing Race out west. The kids earned their Junior Ranger badge and we loved the fact that most of it was drive through. We did stop and hike the Blue Mesa trail---which I would recommend for kids..just long enough and interesting!!! We were very impressed with the Petroglyphs and newspaper rock too. They also enjoyed the Rainbow musuem at the end and being able to see large pieces of petrified wood. I would recommend you give yourself plenty of time to drive through and make the stops you want to..I think we ended up stopping 5 times and with the hike included we were probably there 3.5ish hours!
It costs money to get into the park but you can use the visitor center for a bathroom stop for free 😊
Definitely worth seeing. We just drove through and stopped at designated areas to enjoy the views and take pictures but I would love to go back and have time for a bike ride. The area outside of the actual park is really pretty too.
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Painted Desert Visitor Center
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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