Once you reach Lacey Point, the access road turns to the south and crosses over Interstate 40 along a narrow strip of land that connects the Painted Desert with the Petrified Forest region of the park. It is worth noting that you can not access the interstate at this point.
After driving about seven miles and crossing the Puerco River (probably a dry riverbed when you cross) you will come to Puerco Pueblo. You can take the short trail up to the ruins and there is a privy station here. The ruins date back to the early 1400's, and indicate that at one time the Puerco Indians had a bustling society. The pueblo is estimated to have had more than 100 rooms and a large plaza where woman would have ground corn and children would play. The Puerco Indians were farmers and tilled the land by the Puerco River, relying on the July desert monsoon season to bring life giving rain to their crops. It is theorized that their crops failed and the Indians and their culture were absorbed into neighboring tribes.
Past Puerco Pueblo and heading south is Newspaper Rock. This area of boulders is home to the largest collection of petroglyphs in the park with over 600 individual images etched into the stone. Binoculars are required for viewing most of these carvings. Off trail access is forbidden at Newspaper Rock due to souvenir collectors and instable terrain.
Following the road south, you will drive by a region called The Tepees, which is a series of badland formations that resemble their namesakes. The stratified formations are a spectacular display of lavender, pink, white, and steel clay formations that have been etched by water over thousands of years. This is a popular spot to do a little backcountry hiking due to it's close proximity to the road, and the relatively flat terrain in this area. If you decide to get out and walk in The Teepees, try to stay in the washes that crisscross the area. Avoid stepping on any plant life that may be struggling to grow as they aid in preventing erosion. About two miles south of The Teepees, is an access road to the spectacular Blue Mesa area of the park.
Continue your tour of Petrified Forest National Park...