2 - 3 Hours
One Per Car
At Your Own Pace
Welcome to the Petrified National Park Tour
Discover the timeless beauty of Petrified Forest National Park with this self-guided driving tour. Journey through an ancient landscape where once-lush forests have turned to stone and vibrant desert vistas stretch as far as the eye can see. Explore trails that wind through the park, revealing a land frozen in time and bursting with geological wonders. Unearth the history of this unique landscape, filled with prehistoric creatures, early human inhabitants, and fascinating fossils.
About the Tour
Your tour begins at the Painted Desert Visitor Center by the park’s north entrance. From there, you’ll head to Toponi Point, offering a panoramic view of the Painted Desert’s multicolored badlands.
Next is the Painted Desert Inn, a National Historic Landmark. Learn about its storied past, from a 1920s tourist destination to a park museum. Its unique Pueblo Revival style architecture, charming murals, and captivating vistas make it a must-visit.
After that, you’ll drive to the Puerco Pueblo, the site of a 100-room pueblo inhabited over 600 years ago. Here, you can also see a solar calendar—a rock slab with petroglyphs that mark the summer solstice.
Then, visit Newspaper Rock, home to over 650 petroglyphs left by Puebloan people centuries ago. Ponder the stories these symbols might tell, providing glimpses into the life and culture of ancient inhabitants.
Continuing on, you’ll encounter the Tepees, fascinating formations notable for their layers of vibrant rock. Then, venture to the Blue Mesa, where blue-hued badlands and petrified wood coexist, presenting a visually striking contrast. Learn about the late Triassic environment that created these wonders over 200 million years ago.
After that, explore the Jasper Forest and Crystal Forest, breathtaking trails that provide up-close looks at petrified wood strewn across the landscape.
Finally, you’ll reach Rainbow Forest Museum by the southern entrance of Petrified Forest National Park. The tour concludes here.
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Where to start?
We recommend starting your self-guided tour from the Painted Desert Visitor Center for the best experience.
How does it work?
- Once you book a tour, you’ll get a text/email with instructions.
- Download the app (while in good wifi/signal) and use your unique password to access your tours.
- To begin touring, go to the starting point and launch the app.
- The audio starts automatically once you reach the starting point. Stick to the tour route & speed limit for the best experience.
- Please note that no one will meet you at the starting point.
What You'll See
Painted Desert Rim Trail
Painted Desert Inn
Erosion in the Forest
Nizhoni Point & Whipple Point
Tribes of the Petrified Forest
Historic Route 66
Historic Blue Forest Trail
What Is Petrified Wood?
Blue Mesa Trail
John Muir’s Influence
How Petrified Forest Became a National Park
Rainbow Forest Museum & Surrounding Trails
The Curse of the Petrified Forest
Dark Sky Viewing
Preview the Tour
Erosion in the Forest Audio Story
The Teepees Audio Story
Inclusions and Exclusions
- App on your phone: A link to download the Action Tour Guide App and Password for your tours.
- Flexible schedule: Use any day, any time. Travel over multiple days or on next trip. Never expires.
- Easy to use: Stories play automatically by GPS. Hands-free. Get HELP all day: Call, Chat, or Email.
- At your own pace: No group. Take breaks for photos/ snacks/hikes. Go at your own pace.
- Offline use: No cell signal or wifi required. Offline GPS Map & route. Stop-to-stop direction.
- Don’t miss a thing: Full itinerary, travel tips, professionally narrated videos, text, and hidden gems.
- Transportation, parking fees, food, and drinks.
- Entry tickets or reservations to any attractions along the route.
- Car Rental: Please arrange a rental car at the closest airport or train station.