I remember my mother taking me to the Petrified Forest when I was younger, and I absolutely hated it. Who cares about rocks and sand that is slightly different colors? Even so, I decided to head back there in 2017. I was pregnant and looking for vast landscapes to connect to, I needed to see and experience things bigger and bolder than myself. I was not disappointed.
This is my itinerary if you only have a day to spend there:
Must Do Trails:
Blue Mesa Trail- “The Blue Badlands” A one-mile loop that is a photographer’s dream– so many picture opportunities and beautiful vibrant layers of color along the way. Not to be missed!
Kochina Point Overlook- a .1 mile connector trail from the Painted Desert Rim Trail (Which you can do for a longer experience). The views here are unreal, and gave me the vast spiritual experience I had been looking for when I came.
Rainbow Forest- Not really a specific trail, but a place where you can wander and see all the petrified wood from over 225 million years ago! It’s crazy to think that you are walking amongst things that existed when the dinosaurs where roaming the earth!
Note: I did all these hikes about 6 months pregnant. They are suitable for all skill levels and offer amazing views. This is not a national park with a lot of strenuous hikes!
Where to Eat:
The Turquoise Room- Local Arizona fare with a creative twist! Legitimately some of the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten!
Joe & Aggie’s Cafe- A vintage Route 66 cafe! Serving American and Mexican deliciousness
Where to Stay:
Globetrotter Lodge- 902 W Hopi Dr, Holbrook, AZ 86025-2346 (928) 248-2098: The sweetest little motel on Route 66. Modest and budget-friendly, but still clean. Southwestern decor makes it feel like home.
This National Park is not the dramatic landscapes of others, but it has something special and unique to offer that cannot be ignored. It connects you with how with time mother nature can preserve, destroy, and change the course of a place, people, and things. Exactly what I needed to remember in that moment.