The morning of our second day in Petrified Forest National Park was packed with one spectacular scenic overlook after another. We started at the Painted Desert Visitor Center and then made our way through all eight scenic vista points — Tiponi Point, Tawa Point, Kachina Point, Chinde Point, Pintado Point, Nizhoni Point, Whipple Point, and Lacey Point — to enjoy the majestic panoramic views of Arizona’s Painted Desert.
Chinde Point Overlook and Picnic Area also has covered picnic areas, water, and restrooms. Located at the end of a short spur road, the picnic area is tucked under a small cliff, so it’s protected from the wind a bit too!
In Navajo, the word Chinde refers to the ghost left behind after a person dies. This name is appropriate because paleontologists continue to make fossil discoveries here that provide a greater understanding of life during the Late Triassic Period, 227-205 million years ago. In fact, fossil bones of an early dinosaur, the Chindesaurus Bryansmalli, were first discovered near Chine Point in 1984.
We really enjoyed relaxing and exploring the cliffs at Chinde Point. From this viewpoint, the red, brown, and orange Painted Desert landscape was simply gorgeous and we had a clear view of Pilot Rock, the highest location in the park! The Painted Desert extends over 7,500 square miles across northeastern Arizona and because Petrified Forest National Park lies at its center, the entire park contains its colorful rocks and striped rolling hills.
Know Before You Go
- The Chinde Point Overlook and Picnic Area in the Painted Desert section of Petrified Forest National Park is the fourth vista point south of the Painted Desert Visitor Center on Park Road, Arizona 86028 in Apache County.
- Download the Petrified Forest National Park Map.
- Petrified Forest National Park actually closes! The park is open daily year-round from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. When staff permits, extended hours go into effect from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm — and they’re not kidding. The park gates actually close and rangers drive the main park road around 4:30 telling you to wrap it up and start heading out of the park.
- The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert landscape is an extremely dry, high altitude desert so pack lots of water, even for short day hikes, to avoid heat exhaustion.
- Picnic Shelters are located at Chinde Point, Rainbow Forest, and Painted Desert Visitor Center.
- Restrooms are located at the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center, Rainbow Forest Curio Shop, Painted Desert Visitor Center, Painted Desert Inn, Chinde Point, and the Puerco Pueblo.
- Petrified Forest is one of the most animal friendly national parks. You can bring your leashed pet any place you are allowed to go except into the buildings.