10 of the Best Places in New Mexico to Go Backpacking in Spring/Summer

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2. Bisti badlands

The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a rolling landscape of 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 made of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt.  The weathering of the sandstone forms hoodoos – weathered rock in the form of pinnacles, spires, cap rocks, and other unusual forms.  Fossils occur in this sedimentary landform.  Translated from the Navajo language, Bisti (Bis-tie) means “a large area of shale hills.”  De-Na-Zin (Deh-nah-zin) takes its name from the Navajo words for “cranes.”

Access:

Bisti Access Parking

To reach the Bisti Access Parking Area, Drive NM 371 just under 36 miles south of Farmington (from the San Juan River crossing) or just under 45 miles north of Crownpoint, New Mexico (from the intersection of 371 and Navajo Service Route 9), and turn east on Road 7297 (a gravel road).  Drive Road 7297 for approximately 2 miles to a T-intersection and turn left.  Drive just under one mile to the Bisti Access Parking Area, which is just south of a broad wash on the east side of the road.  There is another, smaller parking area ¼ mile further north.  As this is a wide-open badland formation with little vegetation, there is no trail; visitors may walk into the area in many directions to explore.  You will need to keep track of your surroundings to find your way back to your vehicle.

De-Na-Zin Trailhead

To reach the De-Na-Zin access, Drive NM 371 approximately 43¾ miles south of Farmington, New Mexico (from the San Juan River crossing) or approximately 37¼ miles north of Crownpoint, New Mexico (from the intersection of 371 and Navajo Service Route 9), and turn east on County Road 7500.  Drive approximately 13¼ miles on Road 7500 to the De-Na-Zin parking area (on the left side of the road).  Alternatively, drive US 550, 4 miles north of NM 57, and turn west onto County Road 7500.  Drive approximately 11¼ miles to the De-Na-Zin parking area (on the right side of the road).  A trail leads from the parking area approximately ¾ mile to the De-Na-Zin Wash, from where visitors walk in many directions to explore.  You will need to keep track of your surroundings to find your way back to the trail and your vehicle.

Please Note:

1. Though these trailheads are off regularly maintained roads, they are not paved.  County Road 7500 can become extremely slick and impassible when wet.  Conditions of roads can change at any time due to weather.  Drivers should avoid dirt roads during rain or snow.  Drivers should be cautious of wash-out following rain or snowmelt.

2. Though camping in the Wilderness is a rewarding experience, there are no water sources.  Visitors must carry all the water they will need for the duration of the trip. (Source) backpacking,backpacking,backpacking

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