Just before lunch time, we reached our final Painted Desert scenic overlook along the main Petrified Forest National park main road: Lacey Point.
The vista point is one of eight scenic overlooks in the Painted Desert between the Painted Desert Visitor Center and the Puerco Pueblo Ruins. The other seven are Tiponi Point, Tawa Point, Kachina Point, Chinde Point, Pintado Point, Nizhoni Point, and Whipple Point. All eight viewpoints showcase spectacular views of the multi-hued landscape.
The stunning views at Lacey Point include the Lithodendron Wash, a normally dry river that stretches to the south. When storms engorge wash, the muddy red waters flow into the Puerco River that bisects the park and joins the Little Colorado River near Holbrook before joining the Colorado River deep in Grand Canyon.
The Naming Of Lacey Point
Lacey Point is named for Iowa Congressman John Fletcher Lacey who strongly advocated for the protection of public lands and the resources within them.
Lacey is most prominently known by his namesake of the Lacey Act of 1900, which protected both plants and wildlife. He was also an active supporter and integral player in the establishment of the Antiquities Act by traveling to the southwest to observe firsthand the impact of looting on public lands. After President Theodore Roosevelt signed the act in 1906, the Petrified Forest became the second designated National Monument because of sheer abundance of its archaeological and fossil resources.
Know Before You Go
- Lacey Point in the Painted Desert area of Petrified Forest National Park is the eighth and final official 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.