Colorful badlands meet the Mother Road in Arizona’s high desert.
Looking like pastel mounds of Neapolitan ice cream, Northern Arizona’s Painted Desert is a vast, striated badlands that extends some 150 miles from the eastern end of the Grand Canyon into Petrified Forest National Park. A geologist’s other-worldly paradise, the colorful hills, flat-topped mesas and sculptured buttes of the Painted Desert are primarily made up of the Chinle Formation, mainly river-related deposits dating back some 200 million years. Inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years, the multi-hued sweep of pigmented rock in the arid high desert received its present name in the 1540s from the Spanish explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, who called the area El Desierto Pintado.
Arizona's Roadside Attractions
Find all kinds of roadside sights—odd, unexpected and one-of-a-kind— across Arizona.Learn More
Places to Stay
Sleeper Hits: Arizona's...
From underground caverns to railroad cabooses, lodging options in Arizona surprise even the most seasoned traveler.Learn More
Arts & Culture
How to Buy American Indian...
Visitors to any of the 22 tribes in Arizona have a wonderful opportunity to buy handmade work directly from the artist or an approved retailer....Learn More