A Day in Arizona

Arizona Travel Blog

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arriving to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert visitor center

We had only planned to go to the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas before heading to my dad's place. I realized that we were going to pass by the Petrified Forest in the Painted Desert, so we decided to add it to the itinerary. I was really excited about going because I had not been in a long time, and I remembered how beautiful it was. It took us about 3 hours from Albuquerque to get there, and our arrival time was about eleven.  Once we got there, we stopped in at the Painted Desert Visitors center. We watched a fascinating video that explained how the petrified forest came to be. It took over thousands of years for the trees, that were once under water, to crystalize from the deposits that had been left in them. We also did some souvenir shopping and ate lunch. After that, We drove through the National Park, which is 28 miles long.

Painted Desert in the Park
It would take approximately an hour to drive through without stops, but we decided to stop to see the Agate Bridge, Crystal Forest and the Rainbow Forest Museum. With the drive and the viewing points we stopped at, it took us about 2 hours to go through. I really wished we had had more time to see the other overlook points and walk on more trails.

After we left the Petrified Forest, we drove through the Painted Desert to the Grand Canyon. It took us about 3 hours to get there, and the drive itself was amazing, it really gives you a preview to the treat you are in for. We decided to take route 89 in Flagstaff and turn off at Hwy 64 in Cameron. We entered in the East Entrance, Desert View, so we could drive through the Park and exit out the South Entrance, Grand Canyon or South Rim Village.

the Painted Desert Inn
  When we arrived in the Park, we went in the Desert View Watchtower. Inside the tower is really neat. The walls have been painted by a Hopi artist. Looking in the Grand Canyon from the tower and the overlook outside is spectacular. The Views are amazing. If we had not had to worry about getting through the park to enjoy the sights before it got dark, I think I could have spent hours at the tower. We stopped at various overlook points on the south rim drive, did some shopping in the village area and drove through the lodge area. I went into the Bright Angel Lodge just to check it out. It really looks like a neat place to dine and stay. I would definately like to check out staying there, or in a little cabin, if I ever make my way back and actually do some of the outdoor activities that is offered.
On the road in the Park
Some of the overlook points we had stopped at were the Navajo, Grandview, and Yaki. We thought it would only be about an hour or two to drive through, since it is only about a 26 mile drive, but we ended up staying for almost four hours. Amazingly enough, we made it to the village just before dark.

The day had been so cold and windy, and it only became worse at the Grand Canyon. I would not have left my car if the sights had not been soooo beautiful! There was snow on the side of the road in the Grand Canyon and on the rocks at the Grandview overlook. After we left the Grand Canyon, we decided to add another stop to our itinerary. We went a few more hours out of our way to stop at Kingman, AZ to stay the night. We planned on driving the next morning to Lake Havasu City and see London Bridge for the afternoon before we went on to Las Vegas. 

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arriving to the Petrified Forest a…
arriving to the Petrified Forest …
Painted Desert in the Park
Painted Desert in the Park
the Painted Desert Inn
the Painted Desert Inn
On the road in the Park
On the road in the Park
Painted Desert in the Park
Painted Desert in the Park
rock formation of the Painted Dese…
rock formation of the Painted Des…
The Agate Bridge
The Agate Bridge
Trail at Crystal Forest
Trail at Crystal Forest
Trail at Crystal Forest
Trail at Crystal Forest
On the Trail in Crystal Forest
On the Trail in Crystal Forest
in the Crystal Forest
in the Crystal Forest
In the Rainbow Forest Museum
In the Rainbow Forest Museum
in the Museum
in the Museum
in the Museum
in the Museum
in the Museum
in the Museum
The Rainbow Forest, outside the mu…
The Rainbow Forest, outside the m…
leaving to go to Grand Canyon.
leaving to go to Grand Canyon.
The drive to the Grand Canyon
The drive to the Grand Canyon
Drive to Grand Canyon
Drive to Grand Canyon
Drive to the Grand Canyon
Drive to the Grand Canyon
On the way to the Grand Canyon
On the way to the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Map
Grand Canyon Map
Desert View Watchtower
Desert View Watchtower
Art in the Tower
Art in the Tower
In the Tower
In the Tower
Dad in the tower
Dad in the tower
View form the Watchtower
View form the Watchtower
In the Watchtower
In the Watchtower
View from Navajo overlook
View from Navajo overlook
Drive in the Grand Canyon. There i…
Drive in the Grand Canyon. There …
View from Grandview overlook
View from Grandview overlook
Grandview Overlook! The river look…
Grandview Overlook! The river loo…
View from Grandview overlook
View from Grandview overlook
View from Yaki overlook
View from Yaki overlook
View from overlook
View from overlook
South Entrance sign
South Entrance sign