The Petrified Forest is actually part of the Painted Desert. In fact the Painted Desert isn't just where the National Park is. There are places all over the southwest four corners states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado where areas similar to the Painted Desert can be found. While visiting the Petrified Forest hikers are asked to stay on the pathways and not get out into the lands where the stone trees are. this is to protect the rocks, plants and animals. Most of the Painted Desert Park is classed as Wilderness Area. Another words no motorized vehicles are allowed in the Desert. But you can hike, and go horseback in the Park. Since we didn't want to take any more hikes (we had already done several short hikes in the Forest) we just pulled over at the several overlook areas along the highway. If you do decide to go hiking in either of these two parks, like with any other desert area, remember to take lots of water, and a compass. Also, you will want a hat, sunscreen and always remember to tell someone that isn't going on the hike where you are going and when you should be back.
Painted Deserts get there color from the different layers of rocks, dirt, sand, and other minerals that make up the earth in this area. It can depend on the direction of the sun, any clouds that are in the sky, and how much dust might be in the air do to the wind as to what color you might see in the Desert. We drove up the road through the desert and then turned and drove back and you could really see the difference in the colors in the few hours it took us to do this.
I have seen cliff roses in nurseriess but never seen them in the desert when they were blooming so I could reconized them for sure. A search on the internet had one site that said that the cliff rose is not really a rose, but the flower looks kind of like a rose. Another site said it might be a kind of a rose and couple of other sites said they weren't sure what family of plants it was it. All agreed that there are several similar plants of different sizes and colors of flowers. The shrub is a desert plant and a very hardy and beautiful plant. It had a very pleasant sent to the flowers that were covered in tiny desert bees. If I ever get a chance to get one this is the one I want for my desert yard.