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.
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.
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.
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.
Hiking down into the basin among the Chocolate Hoodoos.
Went out of my way to find Petrified Stump 4 but it was not there/could not see it. View of the plain below.
Hiking among the yellow hills and ravines to reach the plain below.
Hiking toward Fossil Hoodoo.
Fossil Hoodoo area.
Petrified Log 1 area. Notice petrified wood chips.
Leaving the hills to hike on the plain toward Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Hoodoo.
Another 0.4 mile hike on the desert floor to reach Petrified Log 2.
Goblet and Mitten Hoodoos.
Petrified Log 3.
Mutt & Jeff Hoodoo.
Stacked Plate Hoodoo.
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.
Hiking back past Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Hoodoo toward Turtle Hoodoo. This little arch was not marked in my GPS.
The hills near Turtle Hoodoo.
Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Rock Garden.
Petrified Log 4 was hidden up the slopes and was a challenge to find.
Hiking the “baked mud” hills and ravines near Petrified Log 4.
Bird’s Nest Arch turned out to be a tiny structure hidden way up the slopes, probably not worth the effort.
There were still 4 more icons on my GPS but I stopped the search and went back to my truck.
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.
Verbal permission obtained over the phone (888-543-4629) 11/18/17, 12:30 pm Central Time.