No designated trails or water sources.
3-8 miles is typical
The 45,000-acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a remote desolate area of steeply eroded badlands which offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners region. Time and natural elements have etched a fantasy world of strange rock formations and fossils. It is an ever-changing environment that offers the visitor a remote wilderness experience. Translated from the Navajo language, Bisti means "a large area of shale hills" and is commonly pronounced (Bis-tie). De-Na-Zin (Deh-nah-zin) takes its name from the Navajo words for "cranes". Petroglyphs of cranes have been found south of the wilderness area.
The two major geological formations found in the wilderness are the Fruitland Formation and the Kirtland Shale. The Fruitland Formation makes up most of what the visitor will see while in the badlands and contains interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. The weathering of the sandstone forms the many spires and hoodoos (sculpted rock) found throughout the area. The Kirtland Shale contains rock of various colors and dominates the eastern part of the wilderness.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness to protect the area's naturalness, special features, and opportunities for solitude and primitive types of recreation. All Wildernesses must be used and managed in ways that will leave them unimpaired for the use and enjoyment of future generations. Please do your part to preserve the valuable resource of wilderness. Enjoy your stay but please leave no trace of your visit.
While on a fishing trip on the San Juan near Navajo Dam, NM, we decided to take a hiking excursion. There weren't a lot of nearby options, so we settled on exploring the De-Na-Zin Wilderness area south of Bloomfield, NM. We didn't really know what to expect except for weird rock formations and some petrified wood. The parking lot was easy to find (see below) but beware that the road in can get especially slippery when wet (which we experienced!). The path from the parking lot is easy to follow and, after about a 1/2 mile, you just start wandering around to explore whatever interests you. We saw plenty of interesting, colorful, mind-boggling formations and some petrified wood here and there. We thought the area was a tamed version of White Pocket in AZ. We would have spent far more time wandering around, but a hail storm began. We hustled back to the trailhead whilst receiving nature's version of an aggressive facial scrub. I think next time we're in the area we'll hike in the Bisti Badlands (to the west of De-Na-Zin) just to do something different. Advice : forget about the need for a trail. Just explore!
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.