October 29, 1998
Highlights: Easy walking in a bizarre and interesting landscape, outstanding photography Location: Northwestern New Mexico, east of N.M. 371 between Farmington and Crownpoint Round-trip distance: VariesVaries Difficulty: Easy to moderate Elevation: About 5,800 feet Cautions: Confusing topography, lack of water, exposure Maps: Bisti Trading Post and Alamo Mesa West USGS 7.5-minute quads Printable map
Bisti / De-na-zin Wilderness
Summer's too hot for the Bisti, winter too cold, spring too muddy, but fall -- magnificent!
This 4,000-acre BLM wilderness, and the nearby 22,454-acre De-na-zin Wilderness, share a landscape of weirdly eroded landforms -- multicolored mounds, toadstools, hoodoos and more. And scattered throughout are fragments of petrified wood, including huge logs complete with roots. Calcite crystals glitter in the sunlight.
The hiking begins at the BLM Bisti Wilderness parking area, 37 miles south of Farmington, 63 miles north of Crownpoint. There are no marked trails, but cross-country hiking is easy. I prefer to head southeast, across the broad wash.
Hiking here with children is especially fun, because of the unceasing wondrous discoveries they make, and colorful, interesting photos are easily within reach of even sub-mediocre photographers like me.