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Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash

Colorado Plateau, New Mexico

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Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash

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  • Trailhead and registration for the wilderness area.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Heading north from the wash into the badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Unusual rock formations are everywhere.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Formed by water and wind.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
  • Bisti Badlands.- Bisti Badlands North of Bisti Wash
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fantastic rock formations. Awesome views. Open wilderness to explore.
Cons: 
No marked trails. Can be very windy.
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Region:
Colorado Plateau, NM
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Highest point: 
5,800.00 ft (1,767.84 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
Yes
Permit self-issue on site: 
Yes
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Total elevation gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,689.00 ft (1,734.01 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Bisti Badlands is a remarkable area of eroded rock and stunning, otherworldly landscapes, but it can be daunting to those unfamiliar with it. The entire Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a 60,000-acre preserve that has few trails and incredibly rugged terrain. It would take days to explore even a segment of this area, but the good news is that even a day hike will reveal an astonishing variety of rock formations and vistas.

One section that is relatively close to the trailhead and easy to navigate is the area north of the Bisti Wash that extends directly east from the parking area. After registering at the trailhead, this route heads east following the north bank of the wash. After a half mile or so, a barbed wire fence appears to the left parallel to the wash and turns sharply left, and this recommended route follows it. There is a large bluff to the right (east) shaped roughly like a sphinx, and this is a good landmark to note. North and east of the bluff, the badlands open up into a playground to explore with unlimited rock formations and vistas to be discovered. It is helpful to bear in mind that the Bisti Wash is the best route back to parking, and traveling south from anywhere in this northern segment will eventually reach the wash and the shortest way back to the west.

Note: The parking area is open for overnight parking, and spending the night here allows for golden hour photograpy both at sunset and sunrise.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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