These two national parks are connected and lie north to south across US Rt. 66, US Rt. 40, and the Puerco River in eastern Arizona.
The petrified wood is from trees that lived about 225 million years ago. About 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau was pushed up by tectonic forces and exposed to weathering and erosion.
There are more than 600 archeological sites, including Newspaper Rock, an area full of petroglyphs pecked into the dark "desert varnish" patina of the rock to expose lighter hues. There are over 650 glyphs in this area, estimated to be 650 years and older.
Colorado National Monument lies just West of Grand Juntion, CO, near the border between Colorado and Utah.
The so-called "Coke Ovens", also known as the "Haystacks". The stacks are composed of Wingate Sandstone about 200 million years old, with caps composed of harder material called the Kayenta Formation.
Another view of the Coke Ovens from below in early morning.
"Claret cup" cacti in bloom.
Independence Monument - a 450-foot high fin of Wingate Sandstone with a Kayenta Formation cap is all that is left of a wall that once stretched across the canyon.
Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus collaris. Collared lizards feed mostly on insects, and can run on their hind legs.
Southeastern Utah and Castle Valley, approaching Moab.
Rock formation near Dewey, UT.
Left of center, Fisher Towers, framed by mesas notched by the Colorado River, on the approach to Moab from the northeast.
The ghost of Parriott Mesa [elevation 6155'] rises behind a gnarled tree during a Castle Valley snow storm.