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Photo of Spider Rock at Canyon de Chelly National Monument taken on a private custom tour with Tour The Southwest .com
Painted Desert Chinle Formation
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Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and Meteor Crater Custom Tours

On a tour from the Flagstaff Arizon area, we first stop to view the effect of a large meteorite crashing into the earth's surface.  Meteor Crater is so big, one can see its rim from several miles away as it rises out of the red earth west of Winslow Arizona.  It is about 550 feet deep and 2.4 miles in circumference.   The Museum of Astrogeology details the effects of meteors worldwide. The Astronaut Hall of Fame records the experiences of men and women training in the crater for lunar landings.  This is one of locations where astronauts trained for space missions.

This tour travels through parts of the Painted Desert where blue, gray, green, pink, and red soils paint an ever-changing landscape.  In the Petrified Forest one finds giant trees that were turned to stone.  Scattered over the stark and barren desert floor, many appear to have just toppled over like so many toothpicks spilling out.  The park museum provides information regarding the natural processes that cause wood to turn to stone.  In the same area you will visit the prehistoric Indian dwellings at Puerco Pueblo.  You will also see ancient petroglyphs.

Lester Ward, a paleontologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in 1899, strongly recommended the establishment of Petrified Forest National Park with the following comments: "These petrified forests may be properly classed among the natural wonders of America...of interest to all people of culture from both the aesthetic and the scientific points of view.[of special importance to] geologists and vegetable paleontologists.."

On one of our "Private Custom Tours", you will stop at a private supplier of petrified wood where you may purchase souvenirs.  The Museum of the Americas displays the equipment used to cut and polish the stones to reveal their colorful beauty.  We can also visit the "La Posada Hotel" in Winslow Arizona, a National Historic Treasure.  La Posada is one of five historic hotels in Arizona.  This "Last Great Railroad Hotel" was one of the architectural creations of Mary Colter.  In the 1930s, it was like a true romantic Spanish castle with seventy guest rooms and three dining rooms.  La Posada was closed for 40 years and was nearly destroyed.  Fortunately, most of it has now been restored, including stone and tile floors, original furniture, elegant glass murals and enticing gardens. It is a precious link to the boon days of the great Santa Fe trains.  It is widely known as a masterpiece of art and architecture, a true national treasure.