Explore Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Rate this Adventure Bisti Badlands TH

Located in a rarely visited corner of New Mexico, Bisti Badlands is a beautiful and alien landscape home to some of the most bizarre rock formations you'll ever encounter.

There are no trails or marked vista points in the wilderness so you're free to explore in any direction you please though the odds of stumbling upon anything interesting are fairly slim if you're just wandering around aimlessly. Most visitors heading to Bisti are usually on the hunt for the infamous giant cracked eggs (also known as "The Hatchery") so I've provided directions below that will lead you there directly. 

From the Bisti parking lot looking east, you'll see a row of low rust-colored mounds. Head toward the mounds furtherest to the right. Climb to the top and from this vantage point, you'll spot two black flat-topped hills. Walk in the direction of those two black hills veering to the left. Once you're past the two black hills, continue toward the cliffs in the distance with distinct layers of sandstone and coal. "The Cracked Eggs" are nestled right in front of those cliffs. You're now about two miles from the trailhead.

At this point, you can choose to head back to the parking lot or continue along the southern edge of the wash. where you'll find scattered pieces of petrified wood and an endless maze of hoodoos and caprocks to explore. 

Another option is to drive to the eastern side of the wilderness ("De-Na-Zin") which has a separate trailhead at: 
36.312, -108.002. 

Compared to Bisti, De-Na-Zin has far fewer visitors but is no less spectacular. 

How much time should I spend there:

At least 4 hours. Ideally a full day to catch the sunrise and sunset if you're looking to photograph Bisti in the best light. I'd recommend camping overnight in the parking lot so you can get an early start.  

How do I get there:

You can use these GPS coordinates to reach the Bisti Badlands trailhead: 36.259, -108.252

You won't need 4WD or a high clearance vehicle to make the trip. 

At the trailhead is a gravel parking lot with a lone kiosk with a topographic map and trail registry. If the parking lot is full, there's another smaller parking area located 1/4 mile north.

Keep in mind that there are no restrooms, potable water, natural water sources or cell reception available so come prepared. 

Entrance Fee: 

None

Camping: 

Primitive camping is permitted for up to 14 days. No campfires allowed.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Hat and sun protective clothing
  • GPS, compass or printed topographic map 
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Activities Camping, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter
Features
Scenic

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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