Ah Shi Sle Pah

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New Mexico, United States, North America
Spring, Fall
6200 ft / 1890 m
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Ah Shi Sle Pah
Created On: Nov 18, 2017
Last Edited On: Jan 17, 2018


Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah is an area of scenic badlands in northwestern New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. Like other nearby badlands, Ah-Shi-Sle Pah does not have any established trails. If you wander around aimlessly, you will still be rewarded with fantastic views of hoodoos and badlands but if you want to find the features that I discuss below, you will probably need GPS. I got the GPS coordinates of the features from the referenced website at the bottom of this page. I will describe below my 7.5 mile loop hike in Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah. There is of course a lot more to see than what any one website could possibly describe.

Getting There

From the intersection of Route 64 and 550 in Bloomfield, New Mexico, drive 28 miles south on Route 550 and turn right (west) onto Road 57. Drive 17.75 miles on Road 57 to the signed Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah parking area. I found the first 4 miles or so of Road 57 paved but riddled with potholes. Once the pavement ended, the road surface actually became smoother (Under dry conditions, no 4WD needed). A sign at the beginning of the road said the road will become impassable in inclement weather.

The Hike

This is a description of my hike (blue line) in search of the red colored Google Map Pins imported into my GPS from this website http://www.aztecnm.com/recreation/ahshislepah/visit.html.
Maximum Elevation: 6309 ft
Minimum Elevation: 6190 ft

Flat desert plain at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Parking Area near Road 57.

Desert Plain at parking area

The two track heading north from the parking area was closed to vehicles. I hiked half a mile north on the two track to reach the edge of the plateau. Chocolate Hoodoo Basin could be seen directly below.

Chocolate Hoodoo Basin

Hiking down into the basin among the Chocolate Hoodoos.

Chocolate Hoodoo Basin
Chocolate Hoodoo Basin
Chocolate Hoodoo Basin
Chocolate Hoodoo Basin

Went out of my way to find Petrified Stump 4 but it was not there/could not see it. View of the plain below.

The plain below

Hiking among the yellow hills and ravines to reach the plain below.

Among the yellow hills
Yellow hills

Near Chocolate Hoodoo Basin

Hiking toward Fossil Hoodoo.

Going toward Fossil Hoodoo
Going toward Fossil Hoodoo

Fossil Hoodoo.

Fossil Hoodoo

Fossil Hoodoo area.

Fossil Hoodoo area
Fossil Hoodoo area

Petrified Log 1 area. Notice petrified wood chips.

Petrified Log 1 area
Petrified Log 1 area

Leaving the hills to hike on the plain toward Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Hoodoo.

Ah Shi Sle Pah Hoodoo
Ah Shi Sle Pah Hoodoo

Another 0.4 mile hike on the desert floor to reach Petrified Log 2.

Petrified Log 2
Petrified Log 2

Goblet and Mitten Hoodoos.

Goblet & Mitten Hoodoos
Goblet Hoodoo

Petrified Log 3.

Petrified Log 3

Mutt & Jeff Hoodoo.

Mutt & Jeff Hoodoos

Stacked Plate Hoodoo.

Stacked Plates Hoodoo

Surrounding area.

Goblet Hoodoo area
Goblet Hoodoo area
Goblet Hoodoo area
Goblet Hoodoo area

Be careful where you step. Hiking the hills, I was afraid that the ground under my feet could suddenly collapse causing me to fall into a ditch I could not get out of.

Hollow inside of the hills

Hiking back past Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Hoodoo toward Turtle Hoodoo. This little arch was not marked in my GPS.

Small nameless arch

Turtle Hoodoo.

Turtle Hoodoo

The hills near Turtle Hoodoo.

Near Turtle Hoodoo

Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Rock Garden.

Rock Garden
Rock Garden

Petrified Log 4 was hidden up the slopes and was a challenge to find.

Petrified Log 4

Hiking the “baked mud” hills and ravines near Petrified Log 4.

Near Petrifed Log 4
Near Petrified Log 4
Near Petrifed Log 4
Near Petrifed Log 4

Bird’s Nest Arch turned out to be a tiny structure hidden way up the slopes, probably not worth the effort.

The tiny Bird s Nest Arch

Nearby areas.

Near Bird s Nest Arch
Near Bird s Nest Arch

Petrified Stump.

Petrified Stump

Sternberg’s Stump.

Sternberg s Stump

There were still 4 more icons on my GPS but I stopped the search and went back to my truck.

Red Tape

Hiking does not require any fees or permits.

When to Visit

Winter will be cold and summer can get dangerously hot. Summer can also bring afternoon monsoons turning the dirt roads impassable. Spring and fall are the best times to visit.

External Links


Verbal permission obtained over the phone (888-543-4629) 11/18/17, 12:30 pm Central Time.

Ah Shi Sle Pah

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