Bisti Badlands, NM

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip

by and - last updated on 6/20/2024

Day 9 and we were on our way from Chaco Canyon to Farmington, NM where we planned to spend the night with the eventual goal of Monument Valley, UT.

Entering Bisti Badlands transports you to another planet. Erosion has sculpted the landscape into a wonderland of alien-looking hoodoos - mushroom-shaped rock towers and spires. Imagine hiking through a maze of these otherworldly formations, nicknamed the "Alien Egg Hatchery" and "City of Hoodoos." Keep your camera handy, because the Bisti transforms at sunrise and sunset, casting long shadows and painting the rocks in fiery hues.

We did not explore as much of Bisti Badlands as we had originally planned - when we departed the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, we drove across a 21 mile dirt road (the south exit route) which did not seem to have any County Road number but it takes you to U.S. Highway 371 and dead-ends at the former Seven Lakes Trading Post. HIghway 371 was our route to Farmington, so we had assumed that this would eventually prove to have saved us some time.

We had started our day with a drive from Santa Fe, NM via U.S. Highway 550 and then traversed New Mexico County Road 7900 (a long & rough dirt road) just to get to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, so by the time we got to Bisti Badlands we were very tired, very hungry, and the wind was really blowing hard when we parked. We walked about, took a few pics and then drove onwards to Farmington, NM.

 

Now here is what we missed by departing Bisti Badlands without deeper exploration. These images are displaying just how varied the geography is there.

This area, encompassing 45,000 acres in northwestern New Mexico, present a unique assemblage of geomorphic features sculpted by relentless eolian and fluvial processes over millions of years. The landscape is dominated by hoodoos, slender and towering sandstone spires that rise from the cracked earth. These formations, aptly nicknamed "Alien Egg Hatchery" and "Hoodoo City," exemplify the otherworldly aesthetic for which the Bisti Badlands are renowned.

Wouldn't you think that a number of movies or TV shows would have used such an unusual place to film at? We thought so too, yet when we did some research, the list of movies filmed here is pretty short.

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Alien Throne
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Bisti Bones
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness
 IMAGE CREDITS
  • Image # 1 "Alien Throne" is the property of John Fowler via Wikimedia Commons using the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
  • Image # 2 "Bisti Bones" is the property of Bureau of Land Management via Wikimedia Commons using the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
  • Image # 3 "Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness" is the property of John Fowler via Wikimedia Commons using the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
  • All other images are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.
 

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