Bisti / De-Na-Zin Wilderness, NM • Hike

Bisti / De-Na-Zin Wilderness, NM

Guide 21 Triplogs Mine 0 4 Topics
4.5 of 5 
no permit
352 21 4
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Network 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,494 feet
Elevation Gain -134 feet
Accumulated Gain 224 feet
Avg Time Hiking 2-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.75
 Backpack Possible - Not Popular
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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18  2022-03-18 jillyonanadventu
20  2021-12-04
Bisti Loop
23  2017-04-25 Steph_and_Blake
12  2016-03-10 Hansenaz
40  2012-05-18 willydn
21  2011-06-19 PaleoRob
35  2011-06-19 Randal_Schulhaus
12  2011-06-19
Kin Bineola
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 63
Photos 2,548
Trips 184 map ( 820 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
co-author avatarGuides 16,885
Routes 17,276
Photos 24
Trips 1 map (6 Miles)
Age 26 Male Gender
Location HAZ, TrailDEX
Associated Areas
list map done
Northwest Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  7:15am - 5:36pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna  Nearby
Geology  Nearby
Culture  Nearby
Like walking on the moon with petrified wood!
by Steph_and_Blake & HAZ_Hikebot

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 rocks 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 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!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.
    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.

     Permit $$

    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    De-Na-Zin Trailhead Access
    The De-Na-Zin Trailhead is at N 36˚ 18.729'; W 108˚ 00.161', on the north side of County Road 7500. CR 7500 runs from State Route 371 in the west to State Route 550 in the east. It is important to note that County Road 7500 can become impassable in bad weather.

    It is hard to see the parking area from County Road 7500. It sits on the north side of the road, a couple of feet higher and surrounded by scrub growth. There are two smallish, dark wooden signs that say "De-Na-Zin Wilderness," in burned letters. The larger sign is set parallel to the road instead of facing it, and the smaller sign is on the opposite (south) side of CR 7500 from the parking lot. You can barely see the brief break in the long fence line that allows access to the parking lot. So, look sharp.

    From the west, the turn onto CR 7500 from Rte. 371 is clearly marked by a brown sign for the "De-Na-Zin Wilderness," 7-8 miles south of the Bisti turnoff and almost 40 miles north of Crown Point. Turn onto CR 7500 at the sign, and proceed 13.2 miles. After 12.2 miles going east on CR 7500, you will cross a cattle gate in a sandy area. The parking lot is one mile from the cattle gate, on the left. When I drove this route in April 2015, the BLM had put up several signs providing the mileage to the parking lot, in this direction.

    From the east, the turn from Route 550 onto CR 7500 is between mile markers 127 and 128, clearly marked by a sign for "De-Na-Zin Wilderness." After the turn, another sign says "De-Na-Zin Wilderness; 12 Miles." Not exactly. From the turn, it is 11.1 miles to the parking lot. Bear right at the first fork - the signs there can be confusing. There really is no landmark to tell you that you are nearing the parking area except that you get a glimpse of the gray clay to the right side of the road, about 1/2 mile before the parking lot.

    Bisti Badlands Access
    From Farmington 64/371 :: 39.0 mi :: about 43 mins
    1.Head west on NM-371 S36.1 mi
    2.Turn left onto Rd 72971.9 mi
    3.Turn left onto Rd 72900.9 mi
    4.Turn right115 ft
    5.Keep right46 ftdestination will be on the right
    page created by joebartels on May 08 2017 6:01 pm

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