The Painted Desert Trail is tucked away inside the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. It won’t take your pup long to realize the reason behind the trail’s name. The magnificent array of colors is reminiscent of an artist’s palette and is truly a sight to behold!
As the only designated trail on the Refuge, it is a pupular hike for those wanting to experience the pawsome Lower Colorado River Valley and Sonoran Desert. You can begin at either the Tawa Point Trail or Kachina Point Overlook. Let your furry friend be the guide as you make your way across a couple washes and over a plateau. Millions of years ago, volcanoes spewed ash and formed the area’s unique landscape. Minerals in the rocks create the vibrant colors you and your pooch will see. You’ll also pass a furrific rock hoodoo. Your pup will agree, this hike is truly a geological wonder!
While the scenery is pawsitively amazing, the area is quite dry and barren, and there is hardly any shade on the trail. If you are hiking this trail during the summer, plan your adventure for the early morning or later in the evening so your pup doesn't overheat. Remember, if the sand is too hot to touch, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If your pal wants a puptastic experience, venture down the trail at night with only the moon to guide you. Not only will your pooch stay nice and cool, you’ll get to check out the desert’s night life.
Be sure to pick up a brochure at the trailhead so you can learn all about the trail’s geological marvels. There are numbered posts along the way that correspond to the pamphlet. You may catch a glimpse of some desert bighorn sheep, and you’ll almost certainly see lizards scuttling around. Bring more than enough water and be sure to keep your pup well hydrated. If your doggo loves beautiful desert scenery, then this trail will make their tail wag!