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Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Minneapolis, MN
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Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

We will also be visiting Page, Grand Canyon and Sedona during this trip and the pictures of the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert looking kind of boring in comparison.... Is it worth the drive time or would you recommend something better in the Flagstaff area that day instead? We are going to Sedona later in the day.

Thanks!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

If you already think it looks boring, then probably will be for you. We love the place, but are really into geology.

I would look at visiting places closer to Flagstaff - Wupatki and Sunset Crater Nat Mon and Walnut Canyon Nat Mon.

West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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2. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Agree with CasaAzul, and I also recommend Lowell Observatory which is right in Flagstaff - day or evening, it's worth a visit.

www.lowell.edu

Uden, The...
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for Road Trips
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3. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

You already see a lot of Painted Desert on your way to Page. Take the Sunset Crater Volcano to Wupatki loop. Between them you already can stop for some great views on Painted Desert

Kitchener
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4. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Thanks for asking the question. As geology junkies we thought the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest would be a 'must see' but frankly, when I go throught the research I'm underwhelmed. I too was wondering if it was a 'hit' or a 'miss' on our trip this summer. Still deciding....until tomorrow.

On the other hand if you have not been to Wapatki and the Sunset Volcano -- you must go. We visitied both of these on our last trip and while there were very few people there, both were haunting and stunning!.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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5. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

If you drive north from Flagstaff to Wupatki (prehistoric pueblo) and Sunset Crater (extinct volcano) NMs, there are vistas of the Painted Desert from the latter. Petrified Forest NP is really not worth the detour, and IMO is only worth a stop if you're passing by there. I am glad they preserved it however. What I find more interesting are some stone-walled native ruins near there.

If you exit Wupatki by its northern entrance, it's only 15 miles further north to the Cameron Trading Post which is far superior to those you'll find nearer Flagstaff. Cameron TP has everything from souvenir junk to priceless art you can only see by appointment; don't miss the separate fine art building where the consignments are located. Food there is also quite good, and one place to get a "Navajo taco," a big piece of fried white bread covered with anything from meat, tomatoes and beans to honey.

Edited: 24 June 2011, 15:55
Minneapolis, MN
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6. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Thanks for all the feedbck. We are traveling with a 9 and 11 year old and think they would be bored by the petrified forest (though I think it would be cool to see the old Pueblo Dwellings -but a long drive just for that!). We will go to the crater for sure and the Cameron Trading Post - think we will drive by it on our way to PAge or back to the Grand Canyon if I recall correctly from the map. Only 7 more days until we are in AZ. We greatly appreciate all the tips! Thanks!

Sheffield, United...
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7. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Petrified Forrest is a must. Would have thought kids would fond the wood weird and fun. Hope this helps.

Aubrey, Texas
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8. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

When I was a young boy my father took the family along Route 66 to California from Texas. Naturally we stopped at Petrified Forest NP. I found it all fascinating. When my boys were young we stopped by and they were very interested as well. I would be surprised if your children found petrified trees boring.

Flagstaff, Arizona
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9. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Petrified Forest NP is cool, but I do prefer some of the other attractions that we have in the area.

Mesa, Arizona
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for Tempe
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10. Re: Is the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert worth visiting?

Petrified Forest is great BUT it can be hot and dusty this time of year, and if you aren't passing right by your time would probably be better spent at Sunset Crater and Wupatki. If you go to Sunset Crater, do take time to drive in and do at least the paved portion of the Lava Trail. Our grandchildren love it.