Welcome to the Bisti Badlands

August 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Since we were going to be going to southwestern Colorado, we planned to make a small detour into northwestern New Mexico to visit a place I'd seen pictures of before, but isn't talked about much. The largest town close to our photographic objective was Farmington, New Mexico, and the place of interest was an hour's drive away: The Bisti Badlands.

 

I’m not sure there’s any place on earth quite like the Bisti Badlands. They are whimsical; they are remote; they are not well documented; and best of all, there are few visitors. When we were there on three different occasions, we saw only a handful of other people; the one guy we talked to we saw twice. But then, it was around 100 ºF when we were there. Most people that do visit may exhibit more common sense by visiting during cooler weather.

 

The Badlands of BistiThe Badlands of Bisti

 

Bisti is a Navajo word signifying badlands. We were told it is pronounced Bis-tie. The Bisti Badlands name dates back to when there were two seperate wilderness areas: Bisti and De-Na-Zin. They were merged in 1996, creating the huge 45,000 acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

 

The Bisti area was once a coastal rainforest along an inland sea. Around 70 million years ago, the sea dried up, and the dinosaurs vanished. Through eons of geologic transformation, we are left with what you see today: hard sandstone caprocks protecting a much softer clay layer below. The clay erodes much faster from wind and rain, creating the amazing hoodoos.

 

Towering HoodooTowering Hoodoo

 

Like a 3-D Rorshach test, people have given names to some of the formations, and I have used them here. We made up names for some of them as well. Even with the heat, this was a fun place to visit. Have a look at some of the formations we saw. I've included some of the here, but if you are interested to seeing more of them, follow the link below.

 

Seats of the Bisti Supreme CourtSeats of the Bisti Supreme Court Bisti BadlandsBisti Badlands Wings GroupingWings Grouping The SealThe Seal WingsWings Red Rock GardenRed Rock Garden Bisti BadlandsBisti Badlands The SnailThe Snail Alien Egg FactoryAlien Egg Factory

Hoodoo SunsetHoodoo Sunset

 

To see the full gallery of pictures, click here.

 

Coming up next: Mesa Verde National Park

 


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