Of the eight Painted Desert overlooks in Petrified Forest National Park — Tiponi Point, Tawa Point, Kachina Point, Chinde Point, Pintado Point, Nizhoni Point, Whipple Point, and Lacey Point — Pintado Point sits at the highest elevation and has some of the best views.
Pintado is the Spanish word for “painted,” which is fitting because at this scenic viewpoint, you actually get a 360 degree view of the surrounding multi-hued Painted Desert badlands reaching more than 100 miles!
From the Pintado Point lookout, you can see a maar vent — a flat-bottomed, roughly circular volcanic crater of explosive origin. These volcanic landforms have been exposed by erosion of the Bidahochi Formation, a basalt layer that sits on top of the Chinle Formation.
Also, from left to right, you can see:
- Turkey Track Butte: 22.8 miles away
- The San Francisco Peaks: 108 miles away
- The Pinnacles: 1.6 miles away
- The Hopi Buttes: 20-50 miles away
- Lithodenron Wash: 1 mile away
The prominent flat-topped peak in the photos below is Pilot Rock sitting 6.6 miles away. At 6,234 feet elevation, the summit is the highest point in all of Petrified Forest National Park.
Know Before You Go
- Pintado Point in the Painted Desert area of Petrified Forest National Park is the fifth 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.