Travel: Winslow, Arizona’s Little Painted Desert County Park and 9/11 Memorial

When we first returned home I said “I am glad that I traveled that section of Rt. 66 but I will never do it again.”  Now that a few weeks have passed and I have had time to look at my photos and reflect on the feelings I had while looking across the desert or at the multitude of flora and fauna – my mind is changed.  I am collecting an exploration list for my retirement years (or sooner, who knows when the lottery will see fit to allow me to win).  It would be a dream to RV the Western National Parks (within the National Parks system). It would take a couple of months to do it justice. Set up camp, days of exploration and then maybe two days of absorption.

When preparing for the road trip, I knew that Winslow, Arizona would be one of the stops.  Bobby is an Eagles fan and I read that there was an actual tribute spot for the Take It Easy song where he could stand on the corner….  From that idea, I built around the stop to include other unique experiences specific to the Winslow area.  That included a stay at La Posada (blog in the works).  With Winslow, I found that in my head I thought it would be this massive, expansive city.  However, when we arrived I realized that it was much smaller than I had anticipated.  For the sake of this blog, I looked up the census data.  At the writing of this blog, Winslow, AZ has a population of 9,539 people and is the 4,080th largest city in the United States. Maybe, for me, the Eagles song (in my mind) made me think that it was larger than it really was.  I found that to be an interesting fact.

Other than standing on the corner and La Posada, there were two other Winslow experiences I had found online that I thought would be interesting.  One was a 9/11 memorial just before the road to the county park.  It was created using two beams from the actual towers and placed in a way honoring those towers, side by side and kind of at each other’s corners.  One beam stands at fourteen feet tall, the other at fifteen.  Both are rusted.  They are not in a very populated area and had I not just happened to look in their direction (on the way to a gas station within eye-line of the memorial), I might have missed them. Post 9/11 there were a number of towns, a great distance from New York City, who wanted to honor those who died that day.  Many used debris from the actual site, a way of being able to “touch” what happened.  Next to the steel beams flies an American flag.  It was a little windy the day I was there so the crisp crack of the flag as the breeze stretched the fabric was the accompaniment to this monument.  The plaque there reads: “These two steel beams from the World Trade Center, entrusted to the citizens of Winslow by the City of New York, along with this flag that was flown at the Pentagon, stand as the centerpiece of our Remembrance Garden. The words “United We Stand” remind the world that we will not fear terrorism. We hereby dedicate this Garden to Northern Arizona’s promise that ‘WE WILL NEVER FORGET’”  In the hollow parts of the beams, those who came to remember the victims of that tragedy have left mementos.  There were teddy bears and cards, notes and reminders.  The Remembrance Garden is located on the corner of East 3rd Street and Transcon Lane. (from I-40, exit 255).

The second site we visited was the Little Painted Desert County Park. There are specific things I wanted to see on this road trip and Petrified Forest was on that list.  However, when we eventually reached that location, it was just after the time when the park closed.  I was disappointed, to say the least.  However, in creating a list of potential things to see/do, I had a researched a similar (but much smaller scale) location: the Little Painted Desert.  I found this spot while researching things to do in Winslow.  Webpages all referenced Homolovi State Park.  But one page said: “yes, stop there and then drive past for 18 miles to visit Little Painted Desert County Park, a stop that you would otherwise miss but be thankful that you didn’t”.  The author of that review was spot on.   A TripAdvisor review that is spot on reads:  “It appears the funding has been cut or jurisdiction for this park has changed – the restrooms appear to be permanently closed, the road as you come to the rim has large potholes, the road sign has been removed (gps is accurate) and litter is scattered all over.  The only decent amenity is a couple of small picnic pavilions.  HOWEVER, the view is stunning and the term little painted desert is fitting.  It is not as large as the actual painted desert in the petrified national park, but it is a perfect backdrop for pictures.  Plus, it’s free.  It’s worth the ten mile detour off the interstate.  10-15 minutes for your visit is all you’ll need.” The address to plug into your GPS or smart phone map is: Painted Desert Rim Dr, Winslow, AZ 86047.

Below are six of the best photos taken with my camera.  I realized AFTER the trip that dust must have contaminated the mirrors in my camera.  There are so many dust spots that I have edited from photos.  I would have posted blogs sooner but photo cleanup has been a nightmare.  I wish that a photo could do this sight justice, it just doe snot.  The varying textures and colors in such an immense space.  It was well worth the extra (less than an) hour spent for the seventeen mile drive there and back.


These are the photos from my iPhone. Thankful I took as many phone photos as I did camera photos because the spots have really broken my heart.  The first picture in this series appears to be a tiny house off in the desert distance.  I was a little too thrilled by that!


Photos seriously do not do this place justice.  If you are in the area of Winslow, AZ and have a spare hour, make sure to take in these two sites. They are worth it.  Also, because cell service is spotty, I highly suggest plotting your coordinates for the park in your map prior to heading out on the road.  The reviewer I noted is correct, GPS was accurate for us as well.  There was a stone memorial next to the road that is easy to miss, had we not had GPS on hand.  It appears the sign has been stolen.

My insta post from this spot was picked up by visitwinslow.  Bobby is not internet famous!


    1. I just posted the Standin On A Corner blog! The trip, itself, was epic. Albuquerque to Santa Monica to San Fran. It was whirlwind (8 days). There are parts that I would like to revisit and spend more time exploring (the Nat Parks, for example).

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