Photo by T.Scott Williams/PFMA
The clarity of the high, dry air over the Painted Desert region is only interrupted by weather shifts and environmental factors. Wind plays a large role in shaping the terrain but does not often decrease visibility except in the spring and early summer. With an annual rainfall of ~10 inches (~25 cm), moisture seldom interrupts the majestic vistas.
When the rains do come, the conditions can be dramatic.
Thunderstorms are most common during the monsoon season, July to September.
Winters can bring cold temperatures, wind, ice, and snow. Spring is best
known for its wind and dust storms. Fall is sublime, with temperate days and
Petrified Forest is one of the national parks that has Class
I air. Class I National Park Service areas have the highest level of air
quality protection under the law. These areas are defined as national parks
larger than 6,000 acres or wilderness areas over 5,000 acres that were in
existence when the Clean Air Act was amended in 1977. To learn about Class I
air in the national parks, visit Petrified Forest National Park Air Quality Information and the Class I Areas.
Did You Know?
Petroglyphs are sometimes calendars, marking events like the summer solstice with interactions between the glyph, the sun, and natural landscape features.