Skip to main content

Route 66 Wednesdays; Petrified Forest National Park

Back in 2012 I stopped in at Petrified Forest National Park on the Colorado Plateau which used to be crossed by US Route 66 in addition to Arizona State Route 63.






Petrified Forest National Park is mostly known for fossilized trees from the Late Triassic Period from about 225 million years ago.  Petrified Forest National Park spans much of the border Navajo County and Apache County Line between I-40 south to US 180.  Petrified Forest was set aside as a National Monument in 1906 to protect the fossils from theft and was elevated to a National Park in 1962.  Given that US Route 66 ran through Petrified Forest National Park it has become associates with the highway. 

From I-40 access to the Painted Desert Visitor Center and the Park itself is fairly straight-forward.




The northern annex of Petrified Forest contains several vistas of the Painted Desert.  The Painted Desert consists of a series of Badlands on the Colorado Plateau running from the east rim of the Grand Canyon easterly to Petrified Forest National Park.








US Route 66 before I-40 was built used to run across the south side of the modern traffic lanes and directly through the northern annex of Petrified Forest National Park.  US 66 would emerge east of the northern Petrified Forest Painted Desert Visitor Center onto Pinta Road.  The alignment of US 66 is plainly visible via satellite images.  The National Park Service even provided a historical marker where US 66 crossed the lanes occupied by I-40.




From the US 66 monument south to US 180 the routing of Park Road was once part of the original Arizona State Route 63.  AZ 63 apparently was created in 1932 and appeared on maps under state maintenance as late as 1951.  By 1956 maintenance of AZ 63 had been turned over the National Park Service.

Arizonaroads on AZ 63

1935 Arizona State Highway Map

1951 State Highway Map

1956 Arizona State Highway Map 

South of I-40 there is a series of petroglyphs which can viewed via telescope to the west near the former Atlantic & Pacific Railroad siding of Adamana.




Formations like the The Teepees pictured below are common in the Painted Desert.  The southern annex of Petrified Forest National Park has various formations with blue and purple color hues.



To the south of The Teepees the park road traverses by Blue Mesa which can be accessed by the Blue Mesa Scenic Road.





Blue Mesa overlooks various clusters of fossilized trees.








South of Blue Mesa the Agate Bridge forms a small fossil bridge.  The Agate Bridge has been reinforced from the bottom with concrete.


South of the Agate Bridge the park road passes by the Crystal Forest.






Near the south gate of Petrified Forest is a large formation of fossilized logs known as the Rainbow Forest.  The Rainbow Forest seemed to have what was the largest cluster of fossilized trees along the park road.








The Park Road presently ends just short of US 180 as the National Park boundary ends.  The road continues as Petrified Forest Road about a quarter mile where it ends at US 180, AZ 63 would have never met the current designation.  Originally AZ 63 may have ended at the first alignment of US 70 but I'm uncertain as it moved to the present location in 1932.  AZ 63 ended at US 260 which was assigned over the previous US 70 alignment from 1932 until it was decomissioned in the 1950s.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car