Get outta town: Bisti Badlands near Farmington, NM

by Patty Templeton

You don’t have to drive all the way to the Grand Canyon to catch a glimpse of otherworldly rock formations. The Bisti Badlands, also known as the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, is roughly 60 square miles of Insta-perfect, sci-fi rock outcroppings just south of Farmington. Its 45,000 acres will make you feel like you’re on Mars, or in some sort of photographer’s heaven. You ain’t gonna leave the place, especially at a twilight hour with the sun-streaking stone and shadows long-grown, without the awe of the earth singing through your bones.

It’s odd to think it, but the Bisti Badlands, millennia ago, used to be swamplands. Rock formations are made of sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. Bisti, in Navajo, means “a large area of shale hills” and De-Na-Zin translates as “cranes” – because so many of the formations are winged shapes.

Be cautious, though, hopping through the rocks. There aren’t any facilities in this wilderness or any marked trails. Along with snacks and water, bring your GPS and preferably a compass because you will be out in the middle of f-all nowhere with no one to wander by to help you if you get lost. Don’t die getting your nature on. #Adventure

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Patty Templeotn


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