The Bisti Badlands, located in northwestern New Mexico, is a unique and breathtaking destination that offers a glimpse of an alien world right here on Earth. The area is formally known as the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness and takes its name from the striking stone formations that dot the landscape, “bisti” being a Navajo term meaning “among the adobe formations.” The area is also known for petroglyphs of a crane (bird), with “De-Na-Zin” being the Navajo word for the animal.
The Bisti Badlands boasts a surreal landscape with undulating formations made of colorful sandstone and shale. The strange shapes, including tall thin rock spires called hoodoos and labyrinths of unusual stones, have been formed over time by water and moisture eroding a softer layer of ash. Petrified wood can also be found here, adding to the otherworldly atmosphere.
Despite its fantastical appearance, the Bisti Badlands is relatively unknown and has not been used much for film production, save for the 1977 film “Sorcerer.” This lack of commercialization makes the Bisti Badlands a hidden gem, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Visitors can access the Bisti Badlands by taking State Highway 371 to Road 7297, located 40 miles south of Farmington. Follow Road 7297 east for two miles to a T-intersection, then turn left and drive almost one mile to the Bisti Access Parking Area. The best time to visit is in the fall, but it is advised to bring plenty of water in the summer, as temperatures can get hot. Spring is a windy season in the Southwest, with sandstorms being common. The average elevation of the Bisti Badlands is 6,300 feet, making winters quite cold.
In conclusion, the Bisti Badlands is a natural wonder that offers a unique and otherworldly experience for visitors. With its beautiful and surreal landscape, it is a must-visit destination for those seeking to escape the chaos of city life and explore the beauty of nature.
Farmington, New Mexico, 87499
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