Bisti Badlands

Farmington, NM

As we said in our previous post we had visited Farmington for a few days at the beginning of this trip. That’s because the nimble hiker wanted to visit an area south of the city called the Bisti Badlands. But the temperatures were much too high at the start of September so we decided to return here at the end of our trip since our planned route already had us in nearby Cortez, CO.

So after spending a few days in Cortez with Dave, Sue, and Lewis, we drove about 80 miles back south into New Mexico and again set up the motorhome in the McGee Park, the San Juan County Fairgrounds just east of Farmington. The next day we were up early and headed south on NM 371 (aka the Bisti Highway). After 36 miles on NM 371 we turned east on to CR 7291, a well maintained dirt road. In just under two miles we came to a “T” where we turned north on CR7290. One mile up that road and we came to the parking area for the Bisti Badlands. There were many campers staying in the parking lot but it is fairly large and we had no trouble finding a spot for the Jeep. There is a covered picnic table and a pit toilet in the lot if you need it.

The Bisti Badlands is part of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, a 45,000-acre wilderness area. Established in 1984, the Wilderness is a desolate area of steeply eroded badlands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, with the exception of three parcels of private Navajo land within its boundaries. Time and natural elements have created a world of strange rock formations made of sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt.

Heading toward the hills

We parked the Jeep, grabbed our packs, and headed out to the east over a wide flat area for 1.7 miles to our first area, the Egg Hatchery. There is no set trail so you just head east toward some low hills (look for other hikers in the distance). We had downloaded a map with coordinates for some of the best rock formations and used a hiking app to keep track of our route since there is no designated trail and no signs.

The Egg Hatchery
Hoodoo City
Petrified Wood
Photobombing pillar makes for a new look hat
Stone Wings

We spent two days exploring the area, hiking in the southern formations on the first day and exploring formations on the north side the second day. We think we could have spent a week there and not see all there is to see. It is a very interesting place, well worth the effort to get there.

We’re now back home in southern Nevada after a wonderful month exploring central and southern Colorado and a bit of northern New Mexico. We have no motorhome travel plans until at least the middle of January so the blog will be quiet for a while. But we will return in the future with more adventures.

More on that (much) later . . .

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27 Responses to Bisti Badlands

  1. Nancy says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! This is our kind of place! Sending your post now to sweet man!
    Great pictures!

  2. Jim and Barb says:

    Very cool formations, I could walk that area all day looking at them and using my imagination to create mythical creatures by their shapes.

  3. That is just an amazing place! And I had never heard of it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This place looks awesome!

  5. Wow, those egg formations are so bizarre! I got a chuckle out of the hat photo 😂

  6. Jodee Gravel says:

    Wonderful!! Like Fantasy Canyon and Pumpkin Patch all in one place – with lots of its own variations! Definitely not a place to explore in the heat though, good idea to come back later. Thanks for sharing so many great formations.

  7. Debbie L says:

    Simply amazing!!! We’re still dreaming of getting out that way! Right now, we’ll live vicariously through your blog. I’ve started one of our week hiking in the Ozarks! With family time built in….

  8. Looks like a very cool place to wander through (like a giant Rorschach test) and a nice place to wind up your trip. Glad you’re home safe and sound. I’m sure you’ll be raring to go by the time you head out again!

  9. Joe Taylor says:

    Your photos are awesome! Such an interesting place to visit…sure hope to get there one of these days. It’s been on the “got to go there” list for awhile! Isn’t it nice to have a home to return to? What a nice trip you had! Gay

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gay! It was another wonderful trip exploring. It is amazing how many wonderful spots are close to Farmington, NM. It’s a great home base to see lots of ruins and rock formations. It is really nice to have that home to return to.

  10. WOW! We missed the egg hatchery! You did it right by going there twice to cover a good size of the area. Great pictures too. Im sure you had a great time there getting lost in a fantastical place.

    • placestheygo says:

      I am so glad that a blog friend visited the area and suggested the Gaia app which pin points each feature in the Bisit area so we could walk right to things. The Egg Hatchery would have been so easy to walk right by. It is ana amzing place. Two days wasn’t long enough.

  11. Laurel says:

    That is such a surreal landscape! I was there many years ago and would love to go back. Good idea to use a hiking app. I remember wandering around and being a bit worried about getting lost with no trails to follow. So glad you guys had such a great trip. Enjoy your time at home!

    • placestheygo says:

      Getting lost was my biggest concern after all I’ve read. Everything looks the same. It would be easy to get turned around. As a matter of fact, we had to use the app to get out of the Stone Wings area. It was a maze of narrow canyons. It was a another great trip. But it was nice to return home with MUCH cooler temps!

  12. Chasing Dirt says:

    The Bisti Badlands are a place we’ve not (yet) seen. Looks like a very cool place to stomp around!

  13. Sue says:

    Another place on my list…..it seems to be getting longer instead of shorter! Thanks for taking us there and showing us around until we can manage to get there in person. Good tip about the Gaia app.

  14. So cool! Would love to go here some day!

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