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Bisti Badlands' Winged Hoodoos

Intermediate
 4.8 (5) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The Bisti Badlands are a BLM managed area full of strange rock formations, fossils, and geologic interest.


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Map Key

4.3

Miles

7.0

KM

Out and Back

5,845' 1,782 m

High

5,773' 1,760 m

Low

113' 34 m

Up

113' 34 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

5%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly If you go during a temperate time of year, hearty kids with a sense of adventure will enjoy this hike. They will especially love viewing the hoodoos along this route.

Contact the Farmington NM BLM office at (505) 564-7600 and look for signs posted at the parking lot for any current restrictions.

Overview

The Bisti Badlands are a BLM managed area full of strange rock formations, fossils and geologic interest.

Unlike most places these days, the Bisti has no formal trails. However, with a keen eye and an intrepid spirit, your reward for heading into the wildlands will be fantastic views, total seclusion, and a bounty of phenomenal winged hoodoos.

Need to Know

As you'll be spending most of the time hiking in a large wash, keep an eye on the upstream weather. Rainfall upstream could spell disaster in a matter of minutes. If you suspect rain ahead, or see it coming downstream, quickly climb out of the wash and up to high ground for safety.

When this area is muddy, the hike will become VERY slick, so expect to gain a few inches in height from the mud caking on your feet.

Description

From the parking lot, start out on the flat following the main wash to the northeast for ~3/4 mile until you pass the end of the fenced area of Navajo land. Cross the main wash and take a turn NNE heading into the hills. By about the 1 mile point, you'll have hills on both sides and "cannon balls" may start to appear at the foot of some of the hills. Watch your footing!

The ground will now be a mixture of hardpack and sand in lower-lying places. From here, you'll need to scramble over a few passes to get into the hills and gain some altitude. Start watching for small water tunnels as they indicate hollow hills to be extra careful on. There are places where the hills collapse into these hollows and result in a 20+ foot deep pit of broken rocks that you don't want to end up in.

On the top of the ridge, there will be some hoodoos with a clear view to the west that are great to photograph during sunset. Further north and northeast, you'll start seeing winged hoodoos on the summits and western edges of the hills. Explore away in this area, and bring the Hiking Project mobile app to make sure you can find your way back to the car.

PLEASE DO NOT DAMAGE THE FORMATIONS. They are delicate formations that took millennia to create and can't be put back together.

Flora & Fauna

There's not much out this way save for some desert grasses, sage, and a few cacti. Seldomly, you might see a few hardscrabble rabbits, a fox, or a coyote. Hawks can often be seen looking for lunch.

Contacts

Shared By:

Rob M.

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 5 votes

#1491

Overall
  4.8 from 5 votes
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Photos

Keep an eye out for this Winged Hoodoo shaped like a stingray.
Apr 2, 2017 near Farmington, NM
A strange cannonball-like formation sits in the wash along the hike.
Apr 2, 2017 near Farmington, NM
Winged Hoodoo is a delightful sight along the hike.
Apr 2, 2017 near Farmington, NM
The sun sets over a stout hoodoo along the hike. More than 20 exist in this area for your viewing.
Apr 2, 2017 near Farmington, NM

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All Clear 7 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jan 16, 2020
Aniella Fignon
Fun DIY adventure - we did the hoodoo "loop" and it was cool to see all of the rock formations — 1h 30m
Jun 30, 2019
John Korte
May 2, 2019
Brenda Ruthizer
May 15, 2018
Matteo F