I see there are mixed reviews but to me Checkerboard Mesa is almost iconic for the park, perhaps because it is included in many guides and geology textbooks. Furthermore, the character of the scenery to the east of the tunnel has smaller details with the weathering accentuating the ancient sloped dune beds in the sandstone and smaller erosional features. This is different from the scenery to the west of the tunnel which is dominated by large scale cliffs and monoliths of the main canyon. Yes, it's the same rock but different landscape character and it's worth stopping here a bit too to enjoy it.
There is almost no reason not to stop and see Checkerboad Mesa, at least from the parking area (I don't remember seeing any other place from which to see it unless you were to hike cross-country). You can see it while driving past but then you get 45 seconds and if you're the driver and are attentive to the road as you should be then you get about 5 seconds to enjoy it. Not enough for me. Stop in the parking area for a few minutes.
The parking area isn't very large and it is on the north side of the road.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.