Northwestern New Mexico Travel Guide

Northwestern New Mexico Sights

Bisti Badlands Wilderness areas

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

Published 06/20/2022

Fodor's Review

Dinosaurs roamed the Bisti Badlands Wilderness areas when they were part of a shallow sea some 70 million years ago. Hoodoos (mushroom-shaped rock formations in subtle shades of brown, gray, and white) lend the 45,000 acres an eerie, lunar appearance. De-Na-Zin (pronounced duh-nah-zen and named for a petroglyph found nearby) is the much larger and less visited of the two sections, and here you can find hillier and more challenging terrain, plus numerous fossils and petrified logs. At Bisti (pronounced biss-tye), you can encounter deeply eroded hoodoos whose striations represent layers of sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. In many spots you'll climb over mounds of crumbly clay and silt that look a bit like the topping of a coffee cake (but gray). Both sections are ideal for photography, and backcountry camping is permitted—and not to be missed during a full moon, if your timing is good. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which administers the land, stipulates

that you remove nothing from either area, preserving its magical appearance for those who follow. The most fascinating terrain is 2 to 3 mi from the parking areas, and there are no trails (or water facilities), so bring a compass and be alert about your surroundings and where you are in relation to the sun—it's relatively easy to get lost in this vast, incredible place. And how 'bout bringing some more water?

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Sight Information


Bisti: 36 mi south of Farmington on NM 371, then 2 mi east on Hwy. 7297 (gravel); De-Na-Zin: unpaved CR 7500, off either NM 371 8 mi south of Bisti entrance or U.S. 550 at Huerfano, 34 mi south of Bloomfield. Roads can be impassable in wet weather, and high-clearance vehicles are advised in all conditions. Contact the BLM Field Office in Farmington for complete information, Farmington, New Mexico, 87401, USA




Published 06/20/2022


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