Painted Desert

Enjoy expansive views of the Painted Desert from an elevated rim.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
2.9 km
Ascent
90 m
Descent
90 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
1.8 km
Gradient
Painted Desert Map

This hike in the Painted Desert is found in the northern unit of Petrified Forest National Park and is one of the few trails in the area.

Description

The route begins by following an elevated rim near the road. The expansive views from this rim look out over the Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area, "one of the first to receive this designation in the National Park System," according to the NPS.

After traversing the rim and enjoying the stunning views, you have the option to descend to the desert floor to get up-close-and-personal with the rolling red hills. This is also one of the few unpaved trails in the national park, providing a more natural hiking experience.

Once you descend into the desert by following the trail as mapped, you can easily extend this hike by following the bottoms of the many washes through the beautiful red, purple, and blue hills. Just be sure to download some maps for offline use onto your device so you don't get lost or turned around. But if you choose to extend your hike, be sure to tread carefully—only on durable or low-impact surfaces. As always, Leave No Trace.

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Picturesque

Guidebooks in this area