The beauty of the place was very moving. A visitor has to walk the trail to fully appreciate the sculpted textures and the colors of the rock. Blue Mesa is a place of stark, haunting beauty and solitude.
These next 3 pics are from the overlook area accessible by car. Located near the center of Petrified Forest National Park, this area is clearly north of the transition zone from petrified wood outcroppings to painted desert and badlands. (This is a working post so to speak and it is long but comprehensive. Readers preferring only a small number of images may want to opt out at this point.)
Colorful bands are clearly seen in the sedimentary rock layers.
Another nearby view.
Earlier on the paved park road, we saw this other overlook.
An informational plaque.
A closer view of the area we will shortly hike in.
At the trailhead adjacent to a parking area, we see this.
Starting down the paved trail.
This photo is of the rear or far side of the badlands. We will not see this side again on our hike.
Here, I was swooning with anticipation as the paved trail took us into this magical, fantastic area.
Another view likely more palatable to readers.
Further along the trail, we see this vista.
Panning the camera to our right, we see more of the colors in rock strata.
Badlands in the distance with broken up rock fragments in the foreground.
There is quite a range of colors and hues or shades in this scene.
We include this shot to show that the trail (at bottom, in foreground). although paved, was rather steep getting down to the floor of this area of badlands.
Looking to our right and in a generally north or northeast direction we see these formations.
A look behind us shows this outcropping of rock.
Another informational plaque on the trail.
Another view of this multicolored, textured rock.
A close-up shot.
Looking down at the base of these badlands.
One can imagine this looks like a waterfall in stone. Incredible textures are just feet from the trail.
Another view of the desiccated and textured rock. Reminds one of gaseous bubbles rising in a liquid.
Textures, colors and strange shapes and contours are seen here.
More textured rock.
An excellent example of both texture and colors. Blue Mesa actually has much purple or violet to it.
Carved by natural processes, these formations are surreal in a sense.
Another view in the mid afternoon sunlight (24 September 2017).
Nearby is this badland butte.
Seen from the trail, here is another colorful rock formation.
Another plaque with relevant information.
Here, we are looking back the way we came. Badlands lie on each side of the trail.
A rugged landscape with stark beauty.
The paved walking trail winds through the badlands.
A badland butte with a definitive boundary between colors.
A close up shot of the texture of the rock surface.
Further away now.
The base of the rock almost touches the trail.
Now, walking back up the trail, we see this series of badlands.
Zooming in now for a closer look at the colors.
Up close to the rock sides of this badland. Texture and color and blue sky above.
Right at the edge of the trail, we have this piece of the badlands.
Here there is a play of light and shadow in this close up look.
Moving the camera upwards yields this view.
We are back at the area we saw earlier (above).
There is a manmade retaining wall along the trail not far from the trailhead.
We see texture here, but it appears as though the rock may be a conglomeration of smaller stones or rock fragments.
Backing away for a larger view.
In this harsh land and arid environment, there is plant and animal life which struggles to survive.
This is the far or rear side of these badlands not seen from the walking trail. We were able to see this only by looking away from the trail at the highest point of the trail near the trailhead parking area.
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