Southwest Family Road Trip Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park

Ready for Day 3? Yesterday we drove a little under 4 hours from Santa Fe, NM to stay in the iconic Wigwam Motel. After camping for the past 2 nights in Santa Fe, NM, this quaint motel was exactly what we needed before continuing our journey of exploration the southwest. Today on the itinerary is Petrified Forest National Park. Petrified Forest National Park is made up of 200,000 acres including the Painted Desert among other sites. We can’t wait to get our day started!


Teaching our kids during our vacation is just as important as having fun. Stepping back in time to stay at the Wigwam Motel was a fun way to show them to appreciate the past. As an added bonus, Wigwam Motel is less than 30 minutes from Petrified Forest National Park making it an ideal place to stay.


Petrified Forest National Park is amazing! I first experienced Petrified Forest’s wonder when I was in the 3rd grade with my family. I have been waiting until my kids were oldest enough to truly appreciate the landscape.


This is Old Faithful. Behind the Rainbow Forest Museum is a field of some of the largest petrified logs. Old Faithful at almost ten feet wide at the base is the largest. At the Rainbow Forest Museum, we picked up Junior Ranger papers to help our kids get the most out of the experience. The Junior Ranger program helps to teach kids to appreciate nature and engage them during all the stops in the Petrified Forest National Park.


Blue Mesa Trail was by far my favorite part of the Petrified Forest National Park! The colors are so amazing that you can’t help but stop and stare in amazement at the view.

PetrifiedForestNationalPark1While the hike down is relative easy, the hike back up is quite steep. I committed on a bench located at the top of the hill on the way down…


On the way back up, I was laughing watching the boys posture change because I understood now why that bench was there.


The ravens kept the boys entertained at each of the stops along the way. They are enjoyable to watch and quite entertaining at times!



Birdwatching at Blue Mesa Trail

A photo posted by Natalie Zanatta (@mrsnzanatta) on

Now we are getting back in the car for 3 more hours to the Grand Canyon! What have been some of your favorite sights so far?


  1. Robin Masshole Mommy says

    The Wigwam Motel is so cool. We have lots of Indian culture here in Massachusetts, too, so I love that they have this in other areas of the US.

  2. says

    That looks so amazing! Your photos are inspiring me to travel and perhaps take the same route! My kids are all old enough to appreciate this type of scenery and to remember it!

  3. Pam says

    I went to th Petrified Forest with my family when I was a teenager. I still remember how cool it was to see! I would love to take my own family someday.

  4. Jeanine says

    Wow looks pretty amazing. Your photos are stunning. Looks like a great road trip. I haven’t taken one since I was a kid, this looks like a fun time!

  5. says

    I love those t-pee’s and VW’s. Reminds me of being a child of the 60’s and 70’s. We love finding new outdoor spots to visit and I just know if we get to go there, we’re going to love it.

  6. says

    Oh wow! I have always wanted to make a stop here, every since I did a cross country road trip a few years ago! Looks like something my son would love to do!

  7. adriana says

    Such beautiful pictures! Wow you must of had so much fun, I love the idea of taking a trip to a national park like this!

  8. Kendall says

    Wow I need to get here ASAP! it looks breath taking, I bet the view from the top is even better! This is a great travel idea!

  9. ERICA WEAVER says

    wow this place looks amazing i hope to be able to travel there one day i have always wanted to go there

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