America’s Highway, Route 66, continues as a picturesque and interesting ride as we traveled from New Mexico into Arizona.
We rode along Route 66 heading for the Grand Canyon and began noticing the beautiful, painted landscape. Isn’t it amazing how many interesting places we can find even without looking – just taking the time and making the effort. This time it is the Painted Desert. And…I didn’t even realize it at first.
According to https://www.visitarizona.com/uniquely-az/parks-and-monuments/the-painted-desert-1 , “for an unforgettable encounter with Arizona nature, enter into the Painted Desert, where art comes to life. A broad region of rocky badlands encompassing more than 93,500 acres, this vast landscape features rocks in every hue – from deep lavenders and rich grays to reds, oranges, and pinks. It’s like you’ve been transported into a painting. Located in Northern Arizona, the Painted Desert stretches from the Grand Canyon National Park eastward to the Petrified Forest National Park, with a large portion lying within the Navajo Nation.”
HISTORY & NATURE
A natural canvas millions of years in the making, no one event shaped the Painted Desert. Instead, the area is evidence of Earth’s volatility. Home to some of the nation’s most memorable formations and features, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and sunlight, all combined to create the Painted Desert. Deposits of clay and sandstone, stacked in elegant layers, reflects the setting Arizona sun in an altering display of colorful radiance. A remarkable sight that helps make Northern Arizona so unique and picturesque.
The Navajo and Hopi people have lived in this region for hundreds of years, but it was Spanish Colonialists who gave it the name we know it by today – El Desierto Pintado.
Explore a small section of the Painted Desert that is located in the Petrified Forest National Park, just off Interstate 40 around 25 miles east of Holbrook – to get in touch with the natural landscape.
See the beautiful color striations of rock formations and mesas. For the quintessential Painted Desert experience, don’t miss the sunset – it’s when the rocks morph into an awe-inspiring canvas of fiery color.
At least when you travel Route 66 today you’ll find ample businesses, service centers and restaurants to ease any fears of travel through the “desert.”
With love, Ron