Time in the Bisti Badlands

I haven’t posted in a while, but its not been due to getting stuck on my couch. In addition to revisiting some favorite hikes that have already been posted here, I’ve been visiting the Bisti Badlands as often as possible and exploring a type of terrain that is new to me far underground.

The Bisti/De-Na-Zin is a 41,000 acre wilderness area south of Farmington, NM. I haven’t written about the hikes in this area because there really aren’t any established trails and frankly, I like it that way. This stunning ancient river delta holds seemingly unending areas to explore and photograph, but isn’t the best place for those with a bad sense of direction or no experience in navigation. The hills and formations are also not to be underestimated and the ease with which an unwary hiker could become stuck or injured is significant. On the other hand,┬ámany of the formations themselves are extremely fragile and could be easily injured by the careless.

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If you know your basic navigation skills and can keep one eye on where you put your boots while taking in the sights, this area is well worth the visit. When planning a trip, be sure to visit the BLM website and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations. There are no restroom facilities at either parking lot and no water is available. The area is most popular in the Spring and Fall, but I’ve enjoyed hiking there during both the summer and winter months as well. The lack of vegetation and light colored soil makes the area feel like a reflector oven, which is nice in the winter, but not so pleasant in the summer. If you do venture out during the winter months, be sure to pack extra layers as the temperature tends to plummet after the sun goes down.

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There are some well known formations such as “The Alien Hatchery” that can easily be found on the internet, but maps for these places are scarce to non-existant. Many people who visit this area regularly are secretive about the best locations and delicate formations in order to protect them. I put myself in this category…thus I’m not even including directions in this post. If you do choose to visit this area, please help keep it wild!

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