Bisti Badlands / De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Facts To Remember


Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: No marked trail so you can hike as little or much as possible
Elevation Gain: Various but likely a few hundred feet
Starting Elevation: 6,100 feet
When To Hike: Spring to Fall
Permits: None
Pets Allowed: Yes on Leash
Starting Location: Off of State Highway 371 to Road 7297 then another 3 miles
Time of Year: August, 2020

Getting to Bisti Badlands / De-Na-Zin Wilderness

To get to Bisti Badlands / De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico, you take State Highway 371 until you reach Road 7297. Road 7297 is about 40 miles south of Farmington and is a gravel road. Stay on 7297 for almost two miles until you reach an intersection then turn left. Continue for another mile to the Bisti Access Parking Area.

Parking Area

The parking area is a decent size with a pavilion and needed shade, picnic tables and a grill. The trailhead is just a hundred feet from the pavilion.

When we arrived there was one camper van and one car with day hikers. We just found a nice spot near the parking area and set up our tent.

Now let’s hike…

Day 1: Hiking with Better Half

Off we go into the unmarked landscape of the Bisti Badlands.

We didn’t have coordinates to take us to the points of interest, so we just walked and explored. One critical decision was to make sure we constantly knew where our starting point was so we didn’t get lost. The large red hill was a great marker as it was only a few hundred yards from the parking area. If we know where the red hill is, we know where home is.

Spectacular Scenery

The scenery out here is unbelievable and the terrane is tricky. There were areas that you couldn’t pass which means backtracking and going another route. It was fun exploring as long as we knew where the red hill was.

The Unique Sights

Amazing find here…unique rocks and colors.

A Lunar Landscape

The landscape changes from one area to the next. Also you will see some areas that were impassible requiring backtracking and looking for better routes. Love it!

Heading Back to the Car

Never thought dried mud would look so cool. ūüôā

Night is Coming…

We enjoyed a sunset and beautiful night.

Day 2: Morning Hike By Myself

Aimee wanted to sleep in so I left for a solo hike. Spent a little over 4 hours exploring. I went to the red hill, went far out and to the left then zigzagged toward the right until I found some cool rocks then back to the car.

Amazing day!

Hiking to Another Area

You can see the canyons and obstacles I encountered while looking for the next sight.

More Cool Rock Formations

What are these?

More You Explore the More You Find

The exploring may never end but running low on water and it’s getting hotter. After 4-5 hours I should head back to the car. Now where’s that Red Hill?

360 Photos

A 360 photo cut in half and flipped.

And one more…

Our Thoughts

A fantastic and very remote location. We bought some fresh fry bread and soup along State Highway 371 and eventually made it to the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico.

We hiked two days for a total of nearly 7 hours and didn’t see anyone else while hiking. Having the place to ourselves was absolutely fantastic BUT also know there is nobody to help you if needed. Be careful and don’t venture too far out if you aren’t certain where you are.

The rock formations and landscaped will make you feel you are not on Earth. In fact, several times we had to remind ourselves that we were indeed on planet Earth. This place was so amazing and without proper coordinates of sights, we will be going back and staying longer. So much more to see.

Are you Considering This Hike?

Check the weather, if rain or bad weather is expected, this would be better done another day.
Wake up early and start your hike before sunrise
Use GPS to help find the point of interest – we hiked and explored but next time we will have actual coordinates to make sure we miss nothing

Hike Recommendations

Water: Always bring plenty of water as summer temperatures can be very high
Food/Snacks: Always bring some food
Safety: There are dropoffs so be careful as you get close to edges and make sure you bring a friend and keep track of your location so you don’t get lost
Hiking Sticks/Poles: Poles will reduce the impact on knees and leg muscles

More Useful Information

BLM – Bisti De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Bisti Badlands Info and Map

Photos from Bing

Join the Conversation

Your email will not be published.