After stopping by Tiponi Point, Tawa Point, Kachina Point, Chinde Point, and Pintado Point, we only had three more Painted Desert scenic overlooks to visit in Petrified Forest National Park: Nizhoni Point, Whipple Point, and Lacey Point.
Nizhoni means beautiful in Navajo, and the name is perfect for Nizhoni Point, which offers breathtaking views of the broad drainage of Lithodendron Wash coursing across the bold reddish colored and layered badlands far below.
This scenic vista point had a wide sandy area that narrowed into somewhat of a trail that extended into the badlands and my kids couldn’t resist exploring it! While the kids took off into the desert, Brian and I a nice break to sit down, relax, and enjoy the beautiful desert view.
Residents Of The Painted Desert
According to a sign at the overlook, like the geologic layers of the Painted Desert, the lives of its residents layer upon each other in the form of rock art, structures, and artifacts. Ongoing research has uncovered evidence that Native Americans inhabited this area for around 13,000 years.
Items discovered include shell beads and pendants, canteen and bowls, pit houses, ancient pueblos, dart points and spear points, and petroglyphs. The depth of time represented in the archaeological findings makes Petrified Forest unique among southwestern parks.
Know Before You Go
- Nizhoni Point in the Painted Desert area of Petrified Forest National Park is the sixth 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.