Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
#1 The Painted Desert is about 120 miles long by 60 miles wide.
That’s 93,500 acres worth of beauty!
#2 It took millions of years for nature to create this masterpiece.
It’s a product of not only shifts in the earths crust due to volcanoes and earthquakes but also the appearance and disappearance of fresh waters and sea waters.
#3 Some people say the Painted Desert looks like cake!
You can probably guess that it gets its name from the variety of beautiful colors that make up its layers.
#4 The layers are made of a variety of sediments of the Triassic Chinle Formation.
Among them, you’ll definitely find sandstone, mudstone, shale, and bentonite clay.
#5 Iron and manganese compounds in the rocks give them their color.
Silicic volcanic ash makes petrified remains possible.
#6 Because much of the the Painted Desert is a protected area, motorized travel is limited.
Good thing there are plenty of options for hiking.
#7 The Painted Desert borders the Petrified Forest National Park.
Here you can not only see the petrified remnants of a pine forest from millions of years ago, but also fossils, dinosaur tracks, and the archaeological remains of ancient tribes and settlers.
#8 An expedition led by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado nicknamed the area “El Desierto Pintado” when they passed through it in 1540.
We’ve been calling it The Painted Desert ever since.
#9 A lot of the Painted Desert is on Navajo Nation land.
You’ll need a permit for any back road travel here.
#10 The Painted Desert’s climate is cold in the winter with hardly any snow, and hot and dry in the summer.
The annual precipitation here is often some of the lowest in Arizona.