King of Wings is a spectacular hoodoo that sits in a remote part of the badlands of San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. Like many other local hoodoos, King of Wings is a large boulder that is balanced on top of a clay pedestal. What distinguishes it from other hoodoos is that the boulder extends 10 ft beyond the edge of the pedestal creating what looks like a giant wing stretched out into the air. You will not find any signs or trails for King of Wings. Finding it without GPS in the vast expanse of the wilderness will be obviously very difficult.
From the intersection of Routes 64 and 550 in Bloomfield, New Mexico, drive 28 miles south on 550 and turn right (southwest) onto Road 57. Drive 9.75 miles on Road 57 and turn right onto Road 7650. Go another 6.3 miles to reach an unsigned two-track on the left (the first 4 miles of Road 57 are paved but riddled with potholes. The rest is well graded and in dry conditions should be passable by any car. A sign at the start of the road says the road becomes impassable in inclement weather). Go two miles south on the two-track to the end of it (I drove a pickup truck on the two track but did not need to use 4 wheel drive).
Here are some pictures from my 2.4 mile roundtrip hike to King of Wings hoodoo. While a beaten path was visible for a short time, there were no signs or trails. I followed the path that I had entered into my GPS by looking at satellite photos.
From the end of the two-track, I headed south and immediately ran into a barbed wire fence (which I suppose was there to prevent cattle from entering the wilderness. No private property signs). I was easily able to slip under the wire. After hiking the grassy desert plain for 0.3 miles, I reached the edge of the plateau where badlands dropped down into a lower plateau.
Badlands from the edge of the plateau
Colorful “baked mud” hills.
In and out of ravines.
Near King of Wings.
Other hoodoos near King of Wings.
King of Wings. The wing was three times the length of my hiking pole (roughly 10 feet long).
|King of Wings |
|King of Wings
No fees or permits are required.
When to Hike
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.