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Holbrook - Page 2

Last Updated: . By Austin Whittall

Full of vintage Motels

On this, our second page on Holbrook and its Route 66 attractions.
Holbrook is very close to the Petrified Forest National Park, with its Historic Painted Desert Inn.

Along old Route 66 you can visit the Painted Desert Trading Posts and the Historic Big Lithodendron Wash Bridge.

Don't miss the Site of the Meteor fall of 1912

Tour the classics along Route 66 in eastern Holbrook and downtown:

Visit our main Holbrook page (page 1) to read about the western part of town with its classic Route 66 sights: that include Joe & Aggie's Cafe, Brad's Motel, Whiting Motel (West Holbrook), and the Wigwam Motel Historic Landmark.

Stop in Holbrook Arizona during your Route 66 Road Trip!

< Head West
Leupp Corner ¦ Winslow ¦ Joseph City

Head East >
Navajo ¦ Chambers ¦ Sanders

Route 66 at the Petrified Forest

Index to to our Holbrook pages

On this page you will find:

On our Holbrook Page 1

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Sights and Attractions in Holbrook, Arizona

Downtown and Histroric District of Holbrook

After visiting the western side of Holbrook with its classic motels, at the corner of Hopi Drive and Navajo Blvd, turn right, heading south.

On the second block, on the right hand side of the road is the Rock Shop:

Rainbow Rock Shop

Rainbow Rock Shop dinosaurs in Holbrook Arizona Route 66

Dinosaurs at the Rock Shop in Holbrook

101 Navajo Blvd. Picking up petrified wood at the National Park is not allowed, so the petrified wood sold in local shops does not come from the park; it is obtained from private lands outside the park boundaries.

There is fancy polished wood and rough pieces of petrified wood, you can pick your choice. The fake dinosaur statues are awesome.

Keep on southwards, cross the tracks and on the first road, take a left. This is the Historical South Central Avenue District and the street is "Bucket of Blood St."

South Central Avenue Commercial Historic District

119 S. Central Ave.Holbrook, AZ.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Buildings dating back to 1888 in the "Wild West" days of Holbrook it includes the Bucket of Blood Saloon.

The South Central Avenue runs on the south side of the tracks in south Holbrook. It was the downtown area of the city in the 1880s.

The buildings were built after the fire of June 26, 1888 that destroyed most of the downtown area.

To avoid fires, they were erected in adobe, bricks and stone. Four commercial buildings make up the historic district, They are, from west to east, the H. H. Scorse Mercantile, the Pioneer Saloon, the Robinson & Co. Drug Store and the Bucket of Blood Saloon.

After the 1923 flood the business district moved to the north side of the tracks, and most buildings on the south side were abandoned. advertisement

Wackiest Street Name

According to USA Today, South Central Avenue which is also known as "Bucket of Blood Street", was ranked 6th in "wackiest street names" in the USA.

Bucket of Blood Saloon

119 S.Ctral. Ave. See its Street View.

Part of a site listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Saloons were a key element in the social life during the Old Wild West days. Ranch workers interacted, drank heavily, played cards and womanized there. Alcohol and gun-toting men led to frequent shootings too.

The place was originally named "Cottage Saloon", and was built in 1888 by Byron Terril who sold it the following year to Charles O. Brown.

After a double murder that took place there in 1891, it was informally known as "Bucket of Blood". The county prohibition in 1913 and the statewide prohibition on December 31, 1914 killed the business.

Head back along Navajo Blvd. and retrace your steps to your starting point and then go north, along Navajo Blvd., after one block, cross to the eastern side of the road and visit the Courthouse.

Historic Navajo County Courthouse

Navajo County Historic Courthouse, Holbrook AZ

Navajo County Historic
Courthouse and Museum.

100 E Arizona St.Holbrook, AZ.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Historic County Courthouse built in 1898 in a Richardsonian Romanesque style. It now houses the Chamber of Commerce office and the Old West Museum

Navajo County Historical Society Old West Museum

100 E Arizona St.Holbrook, AZ.

The museum has exhibits, collections, and artifacts from Holbrook's past.

Daily 8:00 AM to 5 PM. (928) 524-6558. Free Admission.

Eastern Holbrook's Vintage Route 66 motels

Now we will visit some of the old diners and vintage Motels along the old Route 66 east of the downtown area. Start your tour on the estern (north) side of the downtown district.

Downtown motels

Former Moenkopi Motel

464 Navajo Blvd. To your right. It was located in "Happy Holbrook" according to its matchbook. The word is Navajo and means "Running Water". Now it has become apartments for rent.

A 1960s postcard of the Moenkopi Motel, Holbrook, AZ. Route 66

1960s postcard of a Motel
Moenkopi Motel, in a 1960s postcard in Holbrook, AZ. Source

The modern neon sign is more attractive than the original one. The canopy by the office is the same, but a second floor was added to the office.

How the Moenkopi Motel looks today

present appeaeance of former Moenkopi Motel
Moenkopi Motel, in a 1960s postcard, Holbrook, AZ. Click for St. view

Two blocks ahead was a classic motel, now it has been razed. Only the pool and its building, on the southern side have survived.

The Motel Tonto (Gone)

602 Navajo Rd. Holbrook, AZ. The Motel Tonto proclaimed its features on the back of the postcard shown below: "MOTEL TONTO 602 Navajo Blvd., Holbrook, Arizona 86025 Phone 524-6263 Interstate 40, U. S. 66 - 2 blocks from center of town - 30 Units - Heated Pool - Room Phones - TV - Refrigeration - Tub-Shower Combination - Large Family Units - Free Ice - Pets Welcome."

By the way, do you know what "Tonto" means in Spanish? Well, it means "dumb", "silly", "fool", "idiot". The name was made famous among English speakers by the fictional character from the Lone Ranger who was Comanche, named Tonto. This name was probably inspired by the name of Tonto Basin in southern Arizona which in turn was named after Tonto Creek, which was named so by Woolsey in 1864 after his Yuma employee Tonto Jack.

A 1960s postcard of Motel Tonto in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66

1960 vintage postcard of Motel Tonto on Route 66 in Holbrook Arizona
a 1960S postcard of the Motel Tonto on Route 66, Holbrook, AZ. Source

It later was a Budget Inn, and more recently until 2017, a Knights Inn. See its 2015 Street View while it was still standing, and the same spot in 2022 with the motel razed.
Ahead is another motel.

Holbrook Motel, now the Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook

720 Navajo Blvd. The Holbrook Motel, shown in the postcard below (from the 1950s), was described as "THE HOLBROOK MOTEL U. S. 66 East Holbrook, Arizona 62 Modern units - T. V. - ceramic tiled showers, wall to wall carpeting, refrigerated air conditioning, individually controlled wall heaters. Away from the railroad noise and focal point for the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon and the Indian Country. Phone JA 4-6216. Restaurant - Excellent Food.".

It is still open, but its name has changed to Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook. Some of the original building's features are recognizable like the crested brickwork on the roof.

Then: The Holbrook Motel in the 1950s, in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66

A 1950s postcard of vintage Holbrook Motel on Route 66 in Holbrook Arizona
Vintage 1950s postcard of the Holbrook Motel, Holbrook, AZ. Source

Now: Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook, Holbrook AZ on Route 66

View of Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook Route 66 in Holbrook Arizona
Gateway Inn, today, in Holbrook AZ, Route 66. Click for Street View

Pow Wow

On the corner is a classic trading post and rock shop, the Pow Wow, now closed. It has a great neon sign decorated as a horned Navajo Kachina doll. (Street View).

Across the street, is an iconic

The Corral

865 Navajo Blvd. A Bar; drinks, jukebox and pool tables. No food. A nostalgic old saloon to quench your thirst and get the local feel.

It's been on Route 66 since the 1940s (Corral Cocktails and Cafe). Don't miss the murals on its southern wall.

1940 postcard Corral Cocktails

Vintage postcard Corral.

Corral today

The Corral nowadays. Click for St view

El Rancho Motel & Restaurant

867 Navajo Blvd. Next to the Corral, this brick building has changed over time, but the main structre at the corner with three windows is the same. It has a nice neon sign too.

The El Rancho motel in the early 1960s

1960s postcard of El Rancho Motel US66 Holbrook Arizona
Vintage 1950s postcard of the Holbrook Motel Route 66, Holbrook, AZ. Source

Now: El Rancho as it looks today.

El Rancho Motel nowadays
El Rancho Motel & Restaurant nowadays. Click for Street View

Continue north and take the underpass beneath I-40. The old Route 66 continues northwards, with more attractions.

66 Motel

1940s black and white postcard with cars of the 66 Motel

1940s postcard of the 66 motel. Source

2105 Navajo Blvd. To your left, on the western side of the highway is a classic Route 66 motel. As you can see in the image, it has been around since the 1940s.

It later changed its neon sign, which survives until this day.

The postcard portrayed it as having "Twenty-six modern, insulated units, each with private shower, adjoining car shelters, Simmons beds. Brand new. Sound proof. Cafe on grounds. No railroad noise."

The Hilltop Café is next to it.

66 Motel nowadays.

66 Motel nowadays blazin neon sign
The 66 Motel and its neon sign nowadays.

It is still open, operating as a motel.

66 Motel in a 1960s postcard.

66 Motel and neon sign in 1960s postcard
The 66 Motel and its neon sign in a 1960s postcard. Source

Tepee Curios

Route 66 Trading Post 1950s postcard

Tepee Curios postcard 1950s

2106 Navajo Blvd. Facing the 66 Motel, is an iconic Trading Post, souvenir shop and bar. Air conditioned, it sold sodas, beer and Navajo handicrafts.

The image shows it as it was in the 1950s (click on it to enlarge).

The building is stil there, repurposed into Nichols Sportsman, Guns & Gunsmith (Street View). It has an interesting sign, with an arrow.

Whiting Service Station

2218 Navajo Blvd. To your right is an abandoned former Whiting Bros. gas station followed by another classic motel of the same company, the former Whiting Bros. Motel (North Holbrook).

The Whiting Bros. Gas station in ruins

Holbrook Whiting Bros. service station in ruins
Former Whiting Bros gas station, Holbrook. Click for St. view

Sahara Motel, former Whiting Bros. Motel North Holbrook

2402 Navajo Blvd. To your right. This is the second Witney Brothers Motel in Holbrook the other is in Western Holbrook (Read more: West Holbrook Whiting Motel).

The motel was built in the 1960s with a modern geometric design typical of that period. The building hasn't changed. Only the Neon sign has adapted and shifted its position.

The Whiting Bros. Motel on the north side of Holbrook in a 1960s postcard.

North Holbrook Whiting Bros. Motel 1960s postcard
The Whiting Bros Motel - 1960s postcard. Source

Currently the motel is the Sahara Inn.

View of the Sahara Inn
The Whiting Bros Motel - 1960s postcard. Click for St. view

Whiting Bros. and Route 66

> > Read more: Visit our Whiting Bros. and Route 66 webpage.

Learn all about the motels and gas stations of Whiting Bros along US 66 in New Mexico and Arizona.

After the motel is an abandoned gas station (to your right). And this ends your tour of Northern Holbrook. Head west to visit The Western side of Holbrook, described in our page 1 of Holbrook.

Tours & Itineraries plus outdoor Fun

Petrified Forest National Park

The nearby Petrified Forest National Park is the Only National Park on Route 66and is a great attraction; it also preserves some sections of the old Route 66 alignment. Take a day trip and visit both National Park and old US 66; you can also search for tiny chunks of a metorite that fell near Holbrook in 1912.

Trivia: Holbrook's Meteor

The Meteor Fall of 1912

At 6:30 in the evening on July 19, 1912, a booming sound followed by successive explosions was heard over Holbrook. A meteor exploded in mid air, about 1 or 2 miles high, 6 miles to the east of the town, and fragments fell over an oval-shaped area abouth 1.5 mi. wide and 1 mi. long.

The neighbors went to the impact site, the section house at Aztec Rail Yard, and recovered thousands of fragments of the meteor. The largest weighed 14.5 lbs (6.6 kg) and can be seen at the Bateman Physical Sciences Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, other pieces were the size of peas. The metor must have weighed 421 lbs. (200 kg). The Foote Mineral Company of Philadelphia purchased the remains and 16,000 pieces have been recovered.

It was an L6 chondrite meteor, which has "chondrules" of metal-sulphide, an interior with silicate mineral and spots of nickel-iron alloys and iron-sulphide compounds.

To reach the place where the meteor fell, see Map, it is 12 miles from the town by road.

The Alignment of Old Route 66 near Holbrook

Driving eastwards from Holbrook

Head east along the freeway and at Exit 294 stop to visit a former Stuckey's from the 1960s.

Sun Valley Stuckey's

7699 Sun Valley Rd, At exit 294. On the southwestern side of the exit is the former Sun Valley Station. Located only 8 miles east of Holbrook, it once had a Texaco gas station and a Stuckey's convenience store chain. Its slogan was "Relax, refresh, refuel!".

The building was "8 miles east of Holbrook, Ariz. Hwy 66 & Interstate 40", and it is still standing, with its typical "A" shaped roof. Now it is a knifeshop.

1960 photo of Sun Valley Stuckey’s

Vintage photo of Stuckey's

giant pen knife and shop

Nowadays source, Knife City Outlet.

On the north side of the Exit is the old Sun Valley Motel (now vacant, and until recently the Root 66 Sun Valley RV Park) pictured below in a "Then and Now" sequence:

Motel in a black and white postcard next to westbound lanes of freeway in 1962
Sun Valley Motel, US 66 near Holbrook in 1962. Source
vacant Motel by frontage road, trees, empty buildings
Sun Valley Motel, US 66 near Holbrook nowadays. Click for street view

Ahead is the Petrified Forest National Park

Holbrook is the western tip of the US 66 segment that links Sanders with Holbrook, which is in our Lupton to Winslow webpage

There is a rough back country dirt surfaced road that was the original US 66 alingment from Navajo Trading post into the Petrified Forest National Park, you can see it in this Map from Navajo T. P. to Petrified Forest NP.

This marks the end of the eastern approach into the National Park along old Route 66.

Route 66 in the Petrified Forest National Park

For those who'd rather drive along the freeway, go along I-40 to exit 311, and enter the National Park (you will have to pay a fee to do so).

Once in the park you can visit the remains of two classic Route 66 Trading posts on the original 1926 to 1950s alignment. Below we describe this short tour.

The many Painted Desert Trading Posts Along Old Route 66

There were several Trading Posts with a very similar name on Route 66 east of Holbrook in the Petrified Forest area and all has very similar names. We will describe them in this section.

This is the map with directions to the easternmost post. To visit it, take I-40 westwards from Holbrook and head north from Exit 311. Enter Petrified Forest National Park, pay the park fee and check at the Visitor Center for additional information, road conditions and permission to drive along it.

Route 66 in Petrified Forest National Park

Half a mile beyond the Entry Station to the Park, to your right, heading east is the alignment of the 1926 to 1958 Route 66. Below is a photo of the junction of Route 66 with Petrified Forest Rd.. Below is a view looking east from the junction.

gravel surfaced road heads east in a dry setting, with low bushes on both sides
Looking east along Old US66 at Petrified Forest Rd. Click for St. view

Now the alignment ends here, at the junction,but the original Route 66 continued straight on, to your left, with a NE to SW course, this original alignment was later erased. but you can see it in our custom map (blue line)

Just west of this junction was a tourist trap that cashed in to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, the "Tower":

Painted Desert Tower (razed)

Located west of the Park's visitor center (location map). Julia Miller owned a 160 acre homestead in the middle of the park and she ceded it to her son, Charley Jacobs (who also owned the Indian Village in Chambers.) He was concerned about the realignment in Chambers bypassing his store, so in 1953 he built the Painted Desert Tower on this property as he believed that the new alignment of Route 66 would pass close by his new establishment. However, the National Park Service bought him out in 1958 and razed the spot. Below is a photograph of this tower. I took this picture in 2016 at the Route 66 marker further east.

black and white photo of a trading post, a tower, signs, Shamrock gas station
Painted Desert Tower, A. Whittall

Turn right and head east along Route 66. Ahead, after 0.6 miles, is the site of another "Park":

Painted Desert Park - The Lion Farm (Gone)

Set on the north side (to your left) of the highway, see the map showing where it was, it was the brainchild of Harry E. "Indian" Miller, who also owned the Zoo and Trading Post & gas station further west along US 66 in Two Guns AZ. Miller had partnered with his nephews Paul and William Jacobs in 1927 to build a farm by the Painted Desert. He owned the land, and it was not located within the original boundaries of the Petrified Forest National Monument. At that time the railroad marked its northern boundary. In 1932 it was extended north to include the addition of Painted Desert and that brought the "Lion Farm" into the park. By that time Miller had moved to the Cave of the Seven Devils close to the NM-AZ state line and left his sister Julia Miller, mother of Paul and William, in charge.

two black and white views of a tourist attraction, top buildings and signs, bottom seen from the air with Route 66 running by it along the bottom of the photograph
Painted Desert Park, 1930s postcard, 1950s aerial view. Source

It had a tower overlooking the Painted Desert, cabins, souvenir shop, gas station. Its signs read "Mountain Lion Farm" and "Painted Desert Park Zoo." The zoo had eagles, fox, mountain lions, coyote, bobcat, and later pigs, gila monsters and badgers. The National Monument authorities wanted to buy them out, the zoo was an "eyesore" that had to go. By 1950 Charley Jacobs -Julia's other son- delegated management of the park to Albert Tietjen and refused to sell it. The National Monument put pressure on the Arizona Highway Dept. to realign Route 66 bypassing the Lion Farm in the around 1954 and isolating it from potential visitors. Finally Jacobs sold out his bypassed and vacant Park in April 1962 and the monument was designated as a national park in December 1962. (1)

Painted Desert Trading Post

This is the next trading post, further east (see this map with directions).

concrete bridge, bushes, arid setting, gravel road

Dead Wash bridge. Source

Just ahead, take a left along the dirt road eastwards, drive east for 6.3 miles along Pinta Rd. Cross the bridge over Dead Wash (named so because a prospector named Lewis was found dead there by his neighbor, Jackson, in 1897). Just ahead is the Post.

The Painted Desert Trading post offered rugs, curios, jewelry, and also sandwiches and cold beverages. It had two gas pumps in the front (no canopy), and a simple white building with a flat top and the three windows that faced forward with a single entry door.

It was built by Dotch Windsor in 1942, who ran it with his first wife Joy Nevin until they divorced in 1956. It was the dawn of the Interstate period and Dotch closed the post.

Painted Desert Trading Post in the 1930s. Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66

Painted Desert Trading Post, Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
A vintage postcard of the Painted Desert Trading Post in the 1930s
Holbrook, AZ,

Over the course of eighty years the passing of time has caused, ruin and decay. As you can see below it was in ruins. The dorway was empty and the windows gone. The words Desert Trading Post were faded but could still be made out on the front of the former store:

Painted Desert Trading Post, Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66

Painted Desert Trading Post today, Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
The ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post before it was restored
Holbrook, AZ.

Fortunately it was recently restored and has recovered its former grandeur. Learn more about the rescue project:

white building with 2 vintage gas pumps. With signs indicating it is Dotch Trading Post, American flag on mast to the left
Restored Painted Desert Trading Post in 2021. Source

Turn around and head back to your starting point in the National Park. And visit another Route 66 spot in Petrified Forest National Park (Map with directions.) Turn right along Petrified Forest Rd. ahead is another (there were many!) Painted Desert establishment, the Painted Desert Inn.

Painted Desert Inn

National Historic Landmark

The first inn, Stone Tree House, was made of petrified wood and built in the 1920s by Herbert D. Lore. It was renovated in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the Painted Desert Addition, in an adobe - pueblo style. After WW II it was reopened under the Fred Harvey Company's management and renewed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter in 1947. The museum and inn moved to a new complex in 1963 due to structural issues with the original building, and it was slated for demolition in 1975. A public campaign saved it, it was named a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and is open for all visitors.

1930s black and white postcard two story building with flat roof built in petrified stone

Stone Tree House, 1930s postcard. Source

woman, adobe building painted ochre, garden of desert shrubs and American flag

Painted Desert Inn nowadays. A. Whittall

Drive along Petrified Forest Road, stop at the viewing spots, the sights are amazing. Route 66 reappears ahead where it crossed the Petrified Forest Road again. There is a small marker and a must-see monument commemorating Route 66 within the park.

Route 66 Marker

Commemorating Route 66 and Petrified Forest National Park

Rusting 1931 Studebaker on Route 66, Holbrook AZ
1932 Studebaker at Route 66 marker in Petrified Forest Nat. Park, AZ.

See where it is, in this map, the point marks where Route 66, coming from the trading post in the east, crosses Petrified Forest Rd. and heads west into the desert. The roadbed is not visible at ground level, but can be seen in satellite images. A line of telephone poles marks the alignment of the original Route 66 (you can see them in the photograph).

The marker has a concrete bench with a Route 66 shield, and a chrome vintage car bumper set in it. It belonged to a 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood. It is a front Dagmar Bumper (the word Dagmar came from the splendid figure -and bosom- of Virginia Ruth Egnor's 1950s TV character "Dagmar") pictured below.

Next to it are the remains of a rusty 1932 Studebaker and a sign with information titled "Highway of Dreams", pictured further up.

two images combined: left, historic Route 66 road sign in brown with white US66 shield. Right: chromed 1957 Cadillac bumper set in a concrete wall
The Dagmar bumper and historic US66 sign at the Route 66 marker in Petrified Forest Nat. Park, AZ.

Here you can retrace your steps back to I-40 to continue your itinerary along Route 66 or continue straight and visit the National Park. You can return to this point later or head west to Holbrook from the South side of the park (South side Petrified Forest to Holbrook along US 180.)

>> Book your Hotels in Holbrook

A Short tour in the National Park

The views on this side of the park are amazing, the Painted Desert deserves its name.

red, ochre, pink, white rocks and hills in the Painted Desert, Holbrook Arizona
Painted Desert Petrified Forest Nat. Park, AZ.

Route 66 heading West from the Park

Return to Exit 311 on I-40 and head west along the freeway. The original US 66 alignment coming from the "Route 66 Marker" in the Park is now covered with bushes, it crosses the freeway 2 miles west of Exit 311 (see map).

The freeway cuts the old alignment at this point; the original Route 66 continues on the south side of I-40. This alignment can be driven. To reach it if you want to drive along it, leave I-40 at Exit 303.

This is map of the driveable US 66 alignment from Petrified Forest to Big Lithodendron Wash, it is a 8.1 mile-long segment.

At the exit, turn left, eastbound to the "other" Painted DesertTrading post. It is a 3.8 mile drive.

Painted Desert Point Trading Post

1940s black and white postcard with cars of Painted Desert Point Trading Post

1940s postcard of the
Painted Desert Point Trading Post

It was located 21 miles east of Holbrook. You can reach it (map with directions) from Exit 303 on I-40 head to the south side and drive east for 3.8 mi. It is on the north side of the Old Route 66.

Built in 1946, it sold Shell gasoline. Only the foundations of the rectangular building and the concrete base of the gas pumps remain. At one time it was rumored that it had illegal slot machines. It was run by Harry Charles Osborne, who in 1952, aged 78 was forced to kill his deranged son at the trading post.

Head back to Exit 310, and head one-half mile east along US 66 right to head west along old US 66 to reach the bridge:

Big Lithodendron Wash Bridge

Route 66Holbrook, AZ.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

A wooden truss bridge built in the 1932 on US Highway 66

This wooden bridge is 243 ft. long and 23 ft. wide, its longest span is 18.7 ft. long. It crosses the Big Lithodendron Wash, also known as Carrizo or Little Carrizo Wash -Carrizo is Spanish for "rush".

The word Lithodendron combines the Greek words "Lithos" (stone) and "Dendros" (tree), "stone tree" after the neighboring Petrified Forest National Park.

The wash has several branches that Route 66 had to cross. Two bridges were erected in this spot, and only one survives. It is a timber tressle bridge built 1932 and rehabilitated in 1986 it can still be driven across.

wood bridge next to the freeway, crossing a sandy stream with muddy water
Big Lithodendron Bridge, Route 66, Arizona. Click for St. view

It is a "tressle" bridge because the short timber spans are supported by a rigid frame or "tressle".

Petrified Forest National Park

It is the only National Park in the U.S. to include and protect a section of Route66. Its badlands of multi-colored stones with bands of red, violet, green, ochre and white sediments from the Triassic period 200-million years ago are worth seeing. And then is the petrified wood, the fossils and historical sites...

What to see and do?

Agate bridge, a fossil trunk as a bridge

Agate bridge, 110 ft (34 m long) fossil trunk with a concrete beam supporting it since 1917.
A. Whittall.

Short 2 to 3 hour visit

At least Walk the Painted Desert Rim Trail to Kachina Point, Drive Blue Mesa Road and Stop at Rainbow Forest Museum to see the stone tree trunks strewn on the ground.

  • Stop at the Painted Desert Visitor Center
  • Drive the 28 miles of road through the park: to the south, visit the Rainbow Forest Museum and watch the park film; walk Giant Logs and Crystal Forest trails; drive the Blue Mesa Road. To the north: Visit the Painted Desert Visitor Center and watch the park film
  • Drive the circuit and stop at the overlooks in the Painted Desert, include a stop at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark.

View of some petrified trees at Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Trees
Petrified tree trunks, Holbrook, Arizona. By

Half a Day visit

stone walls, desert shrubs at the Puerco Pueblo site

Ruins of the Puerco Pueblo site. Don't miss the rock art here!
A. Whittall.

Add the following:

  • Drive through the entire park.
  • Stop at Painted Desert Inn Museum (in the Historic Landmark).
  • Walk the trails at Painted Desert Rim and Crystal Forest.
  • Stop at the Route 66, Newspaper Rock, Agate Bridge, and Jasper Forest overlooks.
  • Visit Puerco Pueblo, walk the Puerco Pueblo Trail.
  • Hike the Blue Mesa and ⁄or Agate House Trails.
  • Walk the Giant Logs Trail (pick up a trail guide at Rainbow Forest Museum)

One or more days

Do the above and add:

  • Choose an Off the Beaten Path hike into the Wilderness Area

There is no overnight lodging in the park, camping in the park is limited to backpacking in the wilderness area and permits are required.

multicolored rocks shaped like cones or tepees
The "Tepees" in Blue Mesa, Petrified Forest Nat. Park, AZ.

The Petrified Trees

200 million years ago, during the Late Triassic Epoch this area was a lush rainforest with ferns and coniferous treees 10 ft. in diameter and 180 ft. tall. As they died or fell they were buried by sediments or covered with volcanic ash (known as the Chinle Formaiton) that preserved them before they decomposed. Ground water later dissolved silica in the volcanic ash and saturated the logs and crystallized, replacing what was once living tissue with quartz. This preserves the life-like appearance of the wood.

Iron oxides give the petrified wood its red, organge and ochre hues.

60 million years ago, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau led to the erosion of the younger rock that overlay the Chinle Formation, and this uncovered the logs and fossil plants.

The park is one of the few in the world to have flora from the LateTriassic: cycads, ferns, ginkgoes, lycopods and more.

More details: Official Petrified Forest NP Website.

Painted Desert Inn

Petrified Forest N. P.Holbrook, AZ.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

A classic National Park lodge built in 1920 and restored to its original 1949 appearance. Now a museum.

Built in 1920 by Herbert David Lore as a lodge, it was acquired by the National Park Service in 1935. It was originaly built in petrified wood, but it was soon renovated in a Pueblo Revival Style after it was purchased.

It has ponderosa Pine logs protruding from the adobe and stone walls, earth-toned stucco and flat roofs. It was renovated by Mary Jane Colter in 1947 and closed in 1963 when a new visitor center replaced it. It was saved from demolition in 1976 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

It was completely restored to the way it looked back in 1949 and reopened in 2006. It is no longer an inn, but a museum, don't miss the restored murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie or the mountain lion petroglyph on exhibition there.

Go to Western Holbrook

In the Previous Page you'll find Western Holbrook's attractions and an overview of the city:

Holbrook Page 1

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>> Book your Hotel in Holbrook

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Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66

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