Painted Desert & Petrified Forest
If you want to see some of the coolest sites that nature has to offer, than few destinations are better than Arizona's own Petrified Forest National Park. The park is divided into two areas along a north-south corridor.
The northern half of the park is home to the famous Painted Desert, an 146 square mile (235 square meter) area of badlands. Composed of stratified layers of easily erodible siltstone, mudstone, and shale, these desert stones gain their varied pigmentation from the iron and magnesium compounds found within the rock layers. The site makes for an absolutely breathtaking expanse of colorful desert landscape.
"The southern half of the park is home to some of the world's largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. The major concentrations have been given various forest names such as "Black Forest," "Rainbow Forest," and "Crystal Forest." No matter which sites you go see, the park is full of unbelievable natural wonders that are sure to astound you with their scenic beauty.
The Petrified Forest National Park is located about 2 hours east of Flagstaff.