Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Visits to Winslow, Petrified Forest National Park and Walnut Canyon National Monument

No visit to the northeastern quadrant of Arizona is complete without a stop in Winslow. Perhaps best known for its mention in the 1972 Eagles song Take it Easy we just had to stop by to “stand on the corner”!
The town itself is nothing to see. The town is long past its prime with boarded up and run down buildings lining the streets. The highlight of the town really is the one block area around the “Standin' on the Corner Park” which has some nice bars and businesses nearby.
The corner itself is pretty cool with a statue of a man standing next to a lamppost and another of Glen Frey who co-wrote the song along with Jackson Browne.
Glen Frey statue

We had originally planned on driving right through after our photo op but when we heard friends John and Pam were spending a few nights at Homolovi State Park just outside of Winslow we just had to stop by and visit for one night. What a hidden gem this state park is! We would have never known about it had John and Pam not stopped here. There are several archaeological pueblo ruins built sometime between approximately 1260-1400. The incredible thing about these ruins was the amount of  clay pottery shards in the area.

The Brain Trust contemplating life.....

Some of the pottery shards we found

Scattered among the ruins were a variety of lizards sunning themselves on the rocks.

The park also has a very small cemetery containing a handful of grave sites from a Mormon settlement. It was sad to see how many of the sites were of infant children who never made it to their first birthday.

They spelled Illinois a little different back in the day 
Of course Pam wasted no time spoiling Daisy and Dakota who will now look for her at every campground we stop at!
Daisy and Dakota has a new best friend!
The next day we moved on down the road to the Petrified Forest National Park. The Crystal Forest gift shop outside the south entrance of the park offers free dry camping so we set up there before we explored the park.
We had both seen petrified wood before but never a whole forest of petrified wood! Absolutely incredible, whole trees that look like they were frozen in time.

According to park information.....Over 200 million years ago, the logs washed into an ancient river system and were buried quick enough and deep enough by massive amounts of sediment and debris also carried in the water, that oxygen was cut off and decay slowed to a process that would now take centuries.

Minerals, including silica dissolved from volcanic ash, absorbed into the porous wood over hundreds and thousands of years crystallized within the cellular structure, replacing the organic material as it broke down over time. Sometimes crushing or decay left cracks in the logs. Here large jewel-like crystals of clear quartz, purple amethyst, yellow citrine, and smoky quartz formed.
Logs dotted the landscape

A whole log broken into several pieces

The colors were incredible!

It was a little windy!
The Newspaper Rock site within the park contains over 650 petroglyphs dating back 650 to 2,000 years ago.

This one seems a little suspicious to me.....looks like a character from a Mad magazine when I was a kid
 The last leg of this adventure found us driving back through Winslow towards Flagstaff where we found a great boondocking spot ( 35°10'52.78"N 111°29'42.78"W) in the Coconino National Forest just outside the gate to the Walnut Canyon National Monument.

San Francisco peaks in the background

A closer look.....
The Walnut Canyon NM is our second favorite ruin that we have visited in the last week (behind Montezuma's Castle). The Island Trail takes you by 25 dwellings occupied between 1100 and 1250AD . Although only a mile long, the park lists the hike as "strenuous" due to the elevation (~6,700 ft) and the ~350 stairs you are required to descend and ascend during the 1 mile loop. 
Headed down the stairs with the island on the right

Many of the structures were damaged by looters in the early 1900's

Smoke char can still be seen on the ceilings
Getting this close to these dwellings was incredible. You can get a sense of what life might have been back in the day. Even more so as the sounds of crying children echoed off the canyon walls.

There were even more dwellings on the opposite walls of the canyon that you could see from afar as you walked this trail.
Dwellings on the opposite canyon walls

Notice the several layers of dwellings above and below each other.

 By the time we climbed our way back up to the Visitors Center we were huffing and puffing and ready for a few relaxing days on Lake Powell.....stay tuned!!!!


  1. These certainly are great areas to visit and not to be missed when one passes this way. It was so nice that you decided to join us in Homolovi SP. And I finally got to meet the girls:) I've been waiting for a meet up with Daisy and Dakota. Have fun in Page! Hope the sand holds up for you!

    1. To finally meet the two of you after three years was awesome, to meet up with you twice in a couple weeks...doubly awesome!

  2. Glad you enjoyed Walnut Canyon. We thought you might like it with all of the easily accessible ruins.

    1. We were impressed by the accessibility of each of the ruins in this area. Definitely worth a visit!

  3. Serendipity.... have some Eagles playing as I read your post. Nice boondocking site now on my list - thank you! We can't wait to explore the west this year.

    1. The Eagles are one of the best groups of our era! You will love this area.....

  4. Thanks for the tour of a few spots we've yet to see. Friends of ours are also at Lone Rock. Ray and Anne of are in a Cougar towed by an old blue Ford and have a Beagle.
    Safe travels!

    1. I looked around and don't see them. Perhaps they are parked up top...will check it out!

  5. This is really awesome because are headed that way in April and weren't sure where to stay in the area. Really appreciate the GPS coordinates for boondocking near flagstaff!!

    1. There are a lot of spots along That road, just drive down, walk in and make sure you fit.

    2. I have to agree with Tracy. Thanks for the places to boondock in those areas. Will also be passing through in April.

  6. Rocking the shorts finally. Very interesting places.