An eerie otherworldliness surrounds Bisti Badlands, especially when the moon casts shadows across the hoodoos, weird rock formations with mazelike passages. Difficult as it is to believe, this stark landscape was once buried beneath an ancient sea. As the water slowly receded, prehistoric animals roamed about, living off of each other and the lush foliage that flourished along the many riverbanks. Eventually, the water disappeared, leaving behind a 1,400-foot-thick layer of jumbled sandstone, mudstone, shale, and coal that lay undisturbed for 50 million years. Then, 6,000 years ago, the last ice age receded, exposing fossils and eroding the rock into the fantastic hoodoos you see today. The soil underfoot now lies soft and yielding, wrinkled like the surface of stale popcorn. But the ominous silence reflects the absence of wildlife, for very few animals--save a handful of cottontail rabbits, coyotes, badgers, and prairie dogs--have taken up residence on this somewhat forbidding land. Researchers believe that dinosaurs passed into extinction around these parts, so keep an eye out for fossils (if you find one, remember that removing fossils is illegal). Precipitation in this Wilderness averages a mere eight inches a year, and that typically holds off until July and August temperatures rise to sweltering highs. When a downpour does occur, the soil, typically baked to ceramic hardness by the sun, softens into a slippery, yielding substance. Elevation averages around 6,300 feet, and the most striking scenery is in the southern two-thirds of the area. The Wilderness boundaries enclose parcels of private Navajo land. Please respect private property. Carry a map, a compass, and plenty of water. Backpacking and horse packing are unrestricted, but campfires are forbidden. Chances are you won't encounter a soul here. For more description of this Wilderness, and for a photo without distortion, please go to the BLM website at: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/wilderness/bisti.html

this is one of the most interesting hikes i have been on...not to mention the beauty

hiking
1 month ago

Very interesting easy hike. Not well marked. Some interesting hoodoos and painted mounds. Do not go after rains. Even 1 week after rains the path still had muddy areas that act like quicksand. Many wild animal prints from badgers to cats to deer. Didn’t see any but be aware they’re around. Not heavily visited. Poor signal in area. Bring water.

hiking
6 months ago

no distinct trail, more difficult to follow, compass helpful, no phone service. BEAUTIFIL landscape

hiking
Friday, November 25, 2016

I love going to the Bisti. Lots of amazing rock formations. It can be hard to find the various named formations but well worth the effort!

hiking
Monday, October 03, 2016

hiking
Monday, September 19, 2016

hiking
Friday, September 16, 2016

hiking
Saturday, July 02, 2016

backpacking
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This is the northern trailhead into the wilderness and is the best to see more formations. Yet, I expected more. Great for solitude and and a nice backpack trip. Just expected more.

hiking
Friday, December 11, 2015

Load More