Although the names of the Painted Desert, Crystal Forest Trail, and Rainbow Forest seem straight out of a storybook, they’re real locations within the Petrified Forest National Park. Once you visit, it’s clear how these locations got their nicknames. This ancient park has lots to explore, but it’s most famous for the petrified wood. Walk along one of the many designated trails to see the logs, but resist temptation—it’s illegal to remove the petrified wood (even tiny pieces) from the park. Not a hiker? Take a horseback ride through the park.
Historians should be sure to stop at a viewing area for Newspaper Rock, which are boulders featuring more than 650 petroglyphs. Archeologists will love the Puerco Pueblo, thought to be over 600 years old,
Where is it? Northeastern Arizona. Fly to Phoenix International Airport (check prices).
Where to Stay? Backpack camping is allowed in designated areas, but for those who don’t want to rough it, try the recently renovated Globetrotter Lodge.
What Else Should I Know? Carefully check visiting hours before arriving—the park is open at different hours during different seasons, and note that the park is in an area that does not observe Daylight Savings.
Who’s it For? People who want to feel young.
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