Bisti

Page Type
Area/Range
Location:
New Mexico, United States, North America
Activities:
Hiking
Season:
Spring, Fall
Elevation:
5750 ft / 1753 m
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Page By:
Bisti
Created On: Dec 2, 2017
Last Edited On: Dec 2, 2017

Overview

Note: Bisti/De-Na-Zin is one wilderness area but Bisti and De-Na-Zin are 15 aerial miles apart. This page is about Bisti only. For information about De-Na-Zin, click here.

Bisti is the largest and most scenic of all of the scenic badlands of northwestern New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. It is a fairyland of eroded colorful hills, deep ravines, strangely shaped hoodoos, rock gardens and petrified wood. Like other nearby badlands, Bisti does not have any trails. If you wander around aimlessly, you will still be rewarded with fantastic views but if you want to find the features described on this page, GPS is recommended. Below, you will find my 12.75 mile loop hike in search of some of the features of the area imported into my GPS from the website referenced at the bottom of the page.

Getting There

From the intersection of Routes 64 and 371 in Farmington, New Mexico, drive 35 miles south on 371 and turn east (left) onto Road 7297. Go 2 miles on 7297 to reach a T with Road 7290. Turn north (left) onto Road 7290 and go one mile to the signed parking for Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. Roads 7290 and 7297 are well graded dirt roads and under dry conditions should be passable to any car.


The Hike

This is a description of my hike (blue line) in search of red colored Google Map pins imported into my GPS from this website: http://www.aztecnm.com/recreation/bisti/visit.html

Maximum Elevation: 5900 ft
Minimum Elevation: 5730 ft



From the parking area, I headed east/northeast into a broad dry wash then turned south into the eroded badlands in search of “The Drum Stick”. I was looking for a standing hoodoo which I did not find. Later I found that The Drum Stick was a rock on the ground. View of the badlands.

Near Drum Stick area
Near Drum Stick


Went back to the main dry wash and continued northeast. View of the red hills to the north.

Red hills to the north
Red hills to the north


I then reached the Flat Top Arch area.

Near Flat Top Arch
Near Flat Top Arch

Near Flat Top Arch


Flat Top Arch.

Flat Top Arch


Continuing east and then south toward Komainu area.

Going to Komainu area
Going to Komainu area


Komainu (Lion-Dog) Hoodoo.

Komainu (Lion-Dog) Hoodoo
Komainu (Lion-Dog) Hoodoo

Komainu (Lion-Dog) Hoodoo


Komainu area.

Komainu area
Komainu area

Komainu area


Going toward Paint Palette Hoodoo.

Paint Palette Hill
Near Paint Pallete
Near Paint Pallete
Near Paint Pallete


Paint Palette Hoodoo.

Paint Pallete Hoodoo


Bisti Arch.

Bisti Arch


Onto Egg Hatchery.

Egg Hatchery
Egg Hatchery


Egg Hatchery area.

Near Egg Hatchery
Near Egg Hatchery


Going to Petrified Log area.

Petrified Log
Petrified Log


Petrified Log #37, said to be 36 ft long.

The big petrified log (#37)
The big petrified log (#37)


More logs.

Petrified Log
Petrified Log


More big logs.

Another big Petrified Log
Big Petrified Log


Into a side ravine in search of more petrified logs.

Petrified Log
Near petrified logs
Big Petrified Log
Near Petrified logs


Out of the ravine. The impressive Bisti Butte rose majestically.

Bisti Butte
Bisti Butte


Flying Gator Arch.

Flying Gator Arch


Nearby hoodoos.

Near Flying Gator


Knight’s Arch.

Knight s Arch
Knight s Arch


Near Knight’s Arch.

Near Knight s Arch
Near Knight s Arch


Colorful hills.

Near Two Snakes area


I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of formations in Two Snakes Hoodoo area. Which one was Two Snakes?

Two Snakes Hoodoo area
Two Snakes Hoodoo area


I then went back into the main dry wash and continued east up the branching canyons.

Hiking up a canyon
Hiking down a canyon


Canyon becoming tighter.

Tight canyon


In a place where the walls allowed it, I climbed to the top of the ridgeline. Views from the top.

Canyons from the ridgetop
From the ridgetop above the canyons
From the ridgetop above the canyons
From the ridgetop above the canyons

From the ridgetop above the canyons


Went back down into the canyon going west retracing the path I had come. Nameless formation in the canyon.

unnamed formation in a canyon


Canyon opening up.

Exiting the canyons back into the main dry wash


Continued back down the main wash past Flying Gator Hoodoo to reach Petrified Log 13.

Petrified Log 13


Went north into the white and red/brown hills to find Two Windows Arch.

Two Windows Arch
Two Windows Arch


Nearby area.

Near Two Windows Arch


Bisti Rock Garden.

Bisti Rock Garden
Bisti Rock Garden


A big flat white plain on the way to Petrified Stumps area.

Big flat plain


Finding Petrified Stumps.

Petrified Stump
Petrified Stump


Continuing north and west into the wild colorful hills.

colorful hills
colors
ups and downs
Canyons
Unbelievable !
Colors
Colors
Colors


I called this the Metal Post Butte. Went to the metal post to find an apparently very old sign that had faded beyond readability.

I called this Metal Post Butte


Contemplated going to Hunter Wash Hoodoo but it was getting late and the endless meandering ravines seemed very time consuming.

As far as the eye can see


Changed direction and went toward The Wings Hoodoos which I don’t think I saw but I found these hoodoos some of which seemed to be winged.

Near The Wings Hoodoo
Near The Wings Hoodoo

Near The Wings Hoodoo


Bonnet Twins Hoodoos.

Bonnet Twin Hoodoo


Clam Hoodoo.

Clam Hoodoo


Doo Doo Bird Hoodoo.

Doo Doo Bird Hoodoo


Turned south and began to take a long hike back to the main Bisti dry wash. Went past this big butte which I called K2 Butte.

I called this K2 Butte


Headed west down the main dry wash to reach the parking area where I had started. View of red hills to the north.

Looking north at the red hills


External Links

http://www.aztecnm.com/recreation/bisti/visit.html

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

Red Tape

No fees or permits required

When to Visit

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






Bisti

Area/Range
86 Images 1 Climber's Log Entries 0 Comments 0 Additions & Corrections

Geography

MyTopo Map Nearby Areas & Ranges Interactive Map Areas & Ranges in New Mexico

Parents

Badlands of New Mexico's San Juan BasinAreas & Ranges