Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Painted Desert Rim Trail | Petrified Forest

(Last Updated On: April 24, 2019)

The Painted Desert is on the northern end of Petrified Forest National Park. It has a beautiful array of colors from deep purple to verdant green, from dark rusty red to pale pink. The Painted Desert seems to go on for miles and miles into the flat Arizona landscape.

You can walk along the edge of the Painted Desert for half a mile between viewpoints by using the Painted Desert Rim Trail. The trail starts at Tawa Point and runs to Kachina Point. It is flat and easy and gives great views of the vastness of this colorful area.

The trail has wide sections.
Other sections of the Painted Desert Rim Trail are a little rocky and narrower.

The hike can be done as a shuttle if you have someone to move the car from one viewpoint to the next. If you don’t you’ll have to do a full mile and walk back the way you came.

We liked this hike because it is a great introduction to the park as you come in the north entrance. It is located near the Visitor Center and provides a much different view of the park than the jaunts through petrified forests in the south end of the park. There are informational signs along the trail about the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest.

We liked reading the signs about desert life.
Pictures don’t really capture the beauty of Painted Desert.
One end of the trail begins/ends near the Painted Desert Inn, which is a National Historic Landmark.
The colors of the Painted Desert are beautiful, especially against the blue sky.

If you’re looking for something a little different in Petrified Forest National Park, try the Painted Desert Rim Trail. It’s just right for everyone. Check out our list of other family friendly hikes in Petrified Forest.