Artist's palette is the nickname for the painted mountains looming over the valley. No exception to the rule in the Southwest of the USA where painted deserts and mountains seem to be the norm. In this case the multicoloured rocks are so tightly packed that instead of creating an impression of the Earth's surface being painted by somebody omnipowerful, it seems as if this is his palette where he dips his gigantic brush and comes up with some wild color combinations somewhere else. Artist's drive is a one-way loop of asphalt ribbon in the middle of the dessert allowing the visitors to enjoy the different locations with clusters of different rocks. Watch the "dips" that the road does - quite a photogenic phenomenon in itself.
Artist’s Palette got its name from the myriad colors shown by the volcanic rock and soil. The colors occur because of the various minerals mixed in the mounds (iron salts for the yellow and reddish tints; mica for green and manganese for purple). The intensity of the colors depends on the time of day and the amount of sunlight. The colors are intensified by the sun near sunset; but are interesting to see at any time of the day. There is parking near the viewpoint (somewhat limited) and access is via a fairly short but steep trail. These photos do not do it justice.
Artist's Palette is the most spectacular point of Artist's Drive, where you can observe a fantastic colorful geological scenery :-)
The red, golden, pink and yellow colors are coming from iron salts, green is mica (decomposing), and the deep purple is originated by manganese salts.
We took the car down the nine mile route that is know as Artist's Palette.
The colours of the rocks were brilliant.
We had no trouble with the car as this is a one way tarmac road.
This is an unusual natural mosaic of color on a rock face. It can be viewed right from a parking lot. It is located on Artists Drive.