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Painted Desert & Petrified Forest National ParkI-40, exit 311, Navajo / Holbrook, AZ
The east entrance to Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert is located at I-40, exit 311. There is a visitor center with a number of items for sale and a GREAT video showing some of the history of the park. There is also a cafe with another gift shop here.
The Painted Desert Inn was built in 1924. It's no longer an Inn, but it is open to the public as sort of an additional visitor center. Special events are held here from time to time.
There are many observation parking areas as you drive through the park. It's a 28 mile drive, but if you stop at every one of the points plan on spending several hours in the park.
This is the spot inside the Petrified Forest National Park where history meets the highway. In the background you can see I-40 The telephone poles a bit closer follow the abandoned roadbed of historic Route 66 at this point, the rusty old car is a vintage that commonly traveled the old road, the plaque in the foreground commemorates Route 66.
Crossing I-40 brings you into some of the most colorful parts of the Painted Desert.
Petrified wood is strewn about the landscape throughout the park. It is illegal to take any petrified wood out of the park. But there is plenty available at various gift shops and rock shops outside the park if you wish to purchase a piece.
The Rainbow Forest Museum and park visitor center and gift shop near the west entrance to the Petrified Forest Nationl Park and Painted Desert is accessed from US 180 southeast of Holbrook, AZ.