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———————————————————————————————————-As we mentioned in our last update the main reason we made our stop in Holbrook was to visit the Petrified Forest National Park that is located about 26 miles east of Holbrook.
The park was declared a National Monument in 1906 and a National Park in 1962 and covers roughly 346 square miles. And of course it got its name because of the large deposits of petrified wood found in the area.
Because it really is such a huge park and has so much to offer AND because we had a couple days to kill and wanted to toss some hiking in the park as well we actually made two day trips which really worked out well.
To begin with if you are short on time you can see so much just from your car and by making a few stops at overlooks that it would be worth a visit if just for that.
And if you have a day to spare you can see a whole lot more by walking one or a few of the short maintained trails. And of course if you have even more time you could hike into the backcountry along one of the Off the Beaten Path routes. There are many many options.
There are fossils, badlands, buttes and mesas, ancient petroglyphs, wildlife, and overlooks where you can see for more than a hundred miles if the conditions are in your favor. And for us there were very few people and for the most part we were all alone so we had some quiet time which was great and it was perfect in our COVID ridden times.
We actually broke our visit up into two separate days. We felt that allowed us the time we needed to really take almost everything in because we certainly wanted to walk all the trails we could as well as drive the entire thing.
On our first day we of course pulled into almost every overlook parking area we came across and took advantage of every single short hiking trail we stumbled across as well and took note of a couple longer trails that we made plans to come back to the following day when we would just concentrate on them and not worry about killing time at overlooks and the likes.
One of our day one stops was at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark. It’s a trading post turned inn turned museum but of course building was temporarily closed due to COVID, a common thing during our travels this year. But behind the Inn was the Kachina Point that was a pretty good overlook for the red part of the Painted Desert.
Another fun stop was where an old 1932 Studebaker sat where Route 66 once ran through the park. And of course we killed a little time there playing with picture taking.
And we stopped at the Puerco Pueblo and did a short .3 mile lope trail and checked out what remained of the Puebloan home and a few petroglyphs that were scattered in the racks along the trail.
Then we stopped at Newspaper Rock where we could look down from an overlook to see over 650 petroglyphs, some as old as 2000 years.
Then we stopped in to see Agate Bridge which is a 110ft petrified log that spans a gully.
As you can see in the picture the log is now supported by concrete but it’s still pretty cool and was well worth the stop.
And we stopped at the Jasper Forest which was another overlook area with a panoramic view of an area with a high concentration of petrified wood.
Once we had our fill for the day we found a nice overlook and ate our sacked lunch before making our way back home.
OH, in our last update, well ok 2 updates ago, we mentioned that there were two different couples in the area that we hadn’t seen in some time, remember? Well throughout the day we were in contact with our friends Gary & Lisa and made plans to meet for dinner.
So after a shower and a nap we made our way to a Mexican restaurant called Romo’s where we shared a pretty darn good meal and had a great time catching up. It’s always fun running into friends on the road. I think it had been at least two years since we had last seen Lisa & Gary so it really was a treat.
After dinner we once again headed home and just chilled the rest of the evening. In our next update we will be taking about day two and it was the coolest day so be sure to pop back in to check it out!!
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