1. Petrified National Park: Self-Guided Driving Discovery Tour
Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 28+mile-long tour covers the essentials of Petrified in 2-3 hours. Once downloaded, 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 on to the Blue Mesa, a place 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.