Travel & Culture

Getting Lost at Bisti Badlands

Another great place to check out in New Mexico! Bisti Badlands is definitely in my top 10 favorite places I have ever visited EVER. At first it looks like vast nothingness, but you have to wander and look beyond the nothingness to find the hidden beauty of the Badlands.

Bisti (pronounced bis-tie) Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is an area roughly 60 square miles of remote badlands that offers some of the world’s most unusual scenery. It was once a coastal swamp of inland sea, and home to trees, reptiles, and dinosaurs.

I was originally supposed to go on a group tour, but due to lack of communication, I could not find them. So I went in alone to the vast wilderness. AAAAND I freaked out. One, I’m horrible at directions and this place had no maps, no trails, and no cell reception. I felt nervous and then pretty defeated not knowing where the areas I wanted to see were or how to get there. Two, it was pretty hot that day and my mind started spacing out. After spending an hour in the badlands, I decided to leave.

That’s when I met these two grandpas and Niko (the pup). I ended up tagging along with them. Both have been here several times, and they showed me around. We saw hoodoos (the weird lengthy and skinny things), petrified wood, and a lot more!

We climbed to the tops of hills to figure out where to go next. Sometimes we climbed up just to climb down the same way and walk a big loop around the hill. Other times we climbed rocks to the edge. Some of the rock structures are fragile because the top is much heavier than the bottom, so if you do do this, be careful. This is a weirdly beautiful place – highly recommend! I would also suggest coming in at least a pair cause it’ll be more fun with someone.

What to Know Before You Go

  • Bring:
    • Compass
    • Lots of snacks and water
    • Hiking shoes, preferably
    • Sunscreen
    • Sunglasses and hat
  • Things to do:
    • Hike
    • Camp
    • Wildlife viewing
    • Photography
  • Cell phone reception is spotty, almost non-existent.
  • There is little to no shade.
  • Be careful for flash floods in the wash.
  • Always know where the wash is. If you get lost, find the wash and follow it to the parking lot.

If you have ever been here, did you enjoy your experience?

xo Juliet

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