Posts Tagged With: painted desert

Painted Desert, Slot Canyon and Hoodoos

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument spans almost 2 million acres in southern Utah. It can be difficult to find where to go or how to find information about hikes and other things to do there. It’s not your typical national park or monument with an entrance station and visitor center with all the information you would need. Thankfully I learned about some really cool hikes to do near Lake Powell from another Fulltime Family. All of these areas we explored were within 30 miles of where we stayed in Page, Arizona.


First we went to the Paria Rimrocks Toadstools (also known as Hoodoos). The parking lot for this is right off US 89 between mile marker 19 and 20 heading northwest away from Page. It’s a pretty easy hike of less than a mile to get to the “toadstools” which are cool rock formations.





Check out the yoga class going on in the picture below. What a cool spot for a yoga class!


Some of this hike looked like we were on another planet. It actually reminded me of the Badlands in South Dakota.




After this hike we continued on up US 89 to mile marker 31 to the Paria River Valley Road scenic drive. This is a 6 mile long dirt road past some beautifully layered, multi-colored cliffs. The colors and painted desert look was just stunning!






On this drive you go through the Pahreah ghost town, a cemetery and the site of an old movie set. Some scenes from The Outlaw Josey Wales were filmed there.

Lastly we backtracked down US 89 back towards AZ to mile marker 26 and turned down House Rock Valley Road. About 8 miles down this dirt road is the Wire Pass Trailhead. From there you can hike to Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the southwest. The canyon is 12 miles long but we only hiked for a few miles. We love hiking in slot canyons with the tall towering cliff walls high above us on either side and narrow passageways.







We had such a fun day exploring these various locations in the Grand Staircase. There are many other hikes and locations to explore in this park, but it is so spread out so we only visited the few that were near where we were staying in AZ. If you are ever in this area I hope you’ll find the highway and mile marker information useful.

Categories: National Parks, Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Getting Our Kicks on Route 66

We stayed at two cute little towns in Arizona along Historic Route 66: Williams and Winslow.

Williams is a great place to stay if you are visiting the Grand Canyon.  There is a train that goes from Williams to Grand Canyon each day that looks really fun but we didn’t do it.  It’s quite pricey and you only get to stay at the canyon for about 3 hours before you have to board the train to return to Williams.  We only had one day to spend at the Grand Canyon and we wanted more than 3 hours there, so we opted to drive.  We ended up staying at the Grand Canyon for about 9 hours that day so I was really glad we decided not to splurge on the train.  And even 9 hours was not long enough, there is so much to see in Grand Canyon, but that is for another post.

We stayed at the Railside RV Resort in Williams.  The sites were really close together which I did not like very much, but the people who own or run the place are so nice and hospitable.  They have free breakfast every morning and a shuttle that will take you down to the historic district to visit all the fun Route 66 stuff.  We took advantage of the free shuttle and did some sightseeing.

The train station was really cool.




I love this sign!  Freedom is definitely not free and I am so very grateful to our military and their families for their sacrifices.  There is so much freedom in this traveling lifestyle that we are living, and I never want to take it for granted.




I thought this sign was funny.  We didn’t eat there, but I liked the sign.


We did eat here, at Cruisers Route 66 Cafe.


The guy singing was right by our table and he asked the boys to come up and play some instruments while he sang “My Brown-Eyed Girl”.  I love that song!


Jesse really enjoyed his ice cream.


After leaving Williams we went to stay at Homolovi State Park in Winslow.  This campsite was amazing!  We realized we really need to stay at state parks more often.  We had so much space all to ourselves.  It was so peaceful and beautiful.


The skies and sunsets in the evening were spectacular!  All of this was right outside of our door!  I think I could have stayed here for a month.





Even Fat Cat loved this place!  She sat outside all the time watching for rabbits and squirrels and any other little critter she could find.  Thankfully she didn’t find any snakes!  One day there was a rabbit as big as her that she was stalking, but I think she realized it was too big for her to tangle with.


Chris and the boys enjoyed a water balloon fight one day.  Look at Chris!  He is a still a kid at heart.


Homolovi State Park is home to the ruins of the Hopi Indians that lived here a few hundred years ago.  We toured the ruins and found lots of broken pottery that is preserved there.



Of course we had to be Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona; it’s such a fine sight to see!  I love the Eagles music and I was so excited to be able to get our picture right here.  “It’s a girl my Lord in a flat-bed Ford slowin down to take a look at me.”  Well, she wasn’t exactly looking at me, Chris maybe, but I digress.



A few more random pictures from Route 66 that we found on our way to Petrified Forest National Park.


If you read my post about Santa Monica, you’ll see that we found the end of Route 66 there.  I would love to travel more of the “Mother Road” on our way back east but we haven’t quite decide yet which way we’re going.  We are heading to a Fulltime Families rally in Branson, Missouri so it’s possible we’ll be heading down more of this famous road.



I would love to stay in one of these!  They are so cute!


Next up, Grand Canyon!  Since 9 hours at the canyon wasn’t long enough we ended up going back and got to actually stay in the only full hookup RV park within Grand Canyon for 5 days.  That was awesome!  Stay tuned for that post.  First I have to sort through over 400 pictures I took.

Categories: Arizona | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Petrified Forest National Park

I have not had as much time lately to blog because Arizona kept us very busy.  There is so much to see and do there!  I have a lot of catching up to do on blog posts, and Jake keeps asking me when I’m going to do it.  He and Jesse love to go back and read earlier posts to remember things we have done.  That is one reason why I blog, so we will have a journal to read later about all of our adventures on the road.

One of the places we visited in Arizona was Petrified Forest National Park.  We are loving our nation’s National Parks and this one did not disappoint.  We started at the south entrance of the park and worked our way up.  We spent about 5 or 6 hours hiking and exploring the park.  It’s not a huge park so that was enough time to see everything we wanted to see.  At the beginning we looked at the giant logs near the Rainbow Forest Museum and watched a movie about the history of the park.  Then we looked at some more petrified wood in the Crystal Forest.  The logs have been petrified over many years and look like beautiful, colorful crystals.  The wood is so hard and heavy, it’s hard to believe it was really a tree trunk at one time.



Hiking through the Crystal Forest.



A petrified log bridge called Agate Bridge.


I thought that this park was going to be all about looking at petrified wood, and as beautiful as it is, I didn’t think it would be fun to look at several pieces of wood all day.  But there is so much more to this park.  It is part of the Painted Desert and that is a beautiful sight to see.  It really does look like God painted the hills in this desert, He is the Master Artist.

My favorite part of the park was hiking through the Blue Mesa and Forest.






Jake holding a heavy piece of petrified wood.


Next we checked out Puerco Pueblo which highlights ancestral Puebloan ruins and petroglyphs.  This is what they called Newspaper Rock displaying 2000 year old petroglyphs.





Next we stopped to see a 1932 Studebaker where historic Route 66 once cut through the park.


Then we hiked along the Painted Desert Rim Trail which had spectacular views of the desert.







And lastly the boys completed their Junior Ranger books so they could earn a badge from this park.


Petrified Forest National Park is right off I-40 and Historic Route 66.  There are so many interesting things to see along Route 66 in Arizona that I will write about in another post.  I hope you enjoyed this post about Petrified Forest.

Categories: Arizona, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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