This is the Petrified Forest National Park at exit 311 on Interstate 40. The road first goes north and turns to the south between Tawa Point and Pintado Point. Eventually, you'll end up on US 180 south of Holbrook. Unless you want to backtrack through the park again, be sure to visit the Visitor's Center and the Fred Harvey Gift Shop before you enter the Park. There is also a small restaurant in this location where you can grab a bite of lunch if you want. The visitor center has a a film on the history of the area that you can watch here. The actual park entrance is just past the Visitor's Center. There is also a nice set of shops and a Visitor's Center at the other end of the park just before you exit the park so plan to make a stop here as well before you leave. Both places have good information and nice souvenirs of all types.
About two-thirds of the park is dedicated to the Painted Desert and about 1/3 consists of the Petrified Forest. The stark beauty and the muted multi-colors make the Painted Desert a must see during your trip through northern Arizona. This is especially true if you're from a non-desert area. The Painted Desert viewpoints include Tiponi, Tawa, Kachina, Chinde, Pintado, Nizhoni, Whipple and Lacey. Be sure to stop and visit the Painted Desert Inn a National Historic Lankmark on your way through this section of the park.The road will pass over I-40 but there is no access to the highway from inside the park. You will continue along this rather barren road until you cross the overpass for a major east-west railroad. If you look closely in this area, you may be able to make out what remains of US Route 66. When I-40 was completed, the US 66 road alignment was removed. You can still make out where it was located if you look closely.It is illegal to remove petrified wood, rocks, plants, etc from the park and if caught the government levies a heavy fine. A word to the wise: don't take the risk! It isn't worth it. You can buy all of the cactus or petrified wood you want in local shops and roadside Indian stands.
Besides some usual rock formations and the banded deep purple mounds called Tepees, the terrain in the Painted Desert portion seems rather bleak until you get to the Petrified Forest. The fossilized wood really become evident at Crystal Forest and continues to get better the further south into the park you go. The Giant Logs stop is located behind the southern visitor center. This area contains ranger housing, and Fred Harvey Gift Shop. The Rainbow Forest Museum is the grand finale of the park. Continuing down the road past the entrance station and beyond the park boundaries, the road ends at US 180. There are two souvenir shops and both have signs posted advertising free RV campgrounds. I didn't see any takers and I don't know if there were any strings attached but it sounded interesting. We turned right on US 180 towards Holbrook. Just to the south of Holbrook on the westside of the highway, we noticed more fields of petrified wood and another large souvenir shop. The stash of petrified wood here certainly rivaled what we had seen in the park minus the huge fossilized logs we saw inside the park. The park is RV friendly in most locations however, this depends on how busy the park is on the day you visit.