New Mexico’s known for many things: Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta, Santa Fe’s native spirit, and Carlsbad’s epic caverns. There’s plenty of myth and mystery surrounding Roswell, and Breaking Bad’s cult following has even inspired tourism of its own.
But perhaps the best spot to visit in New Mexico, and arguably the most picturesque, is among the least well-known. While it’s not terribly far off the proverbial beaten path, when you get to the Bisti Badlands, there are no paths at all. Just hoodoos, footprints, and an other-worldly lunar landscape with a palette all its own.
Situated 40 miles due south of Farmington in Bloomfield, NM, these badlands are undersubscribed and overwhelming. There’s much to see, and you’ll have to hike at least a few miles to start seeing the best of what Bisti has to offer. The park features 60 square miles of unique scenery, and is the site of a dinosaur excavation in 1998.
Note: Be sure to pack plenty of water in warmer months. There are very few spots to find shade, and cell phone reception is spotty at best throughout the area. You’ll want a compass or a dedicated GPS device, or if you use Google Maps, download an offline map ahead of your trip so that you’ll be able to find your way back to your car in the parking lot. The parking lot is on the west side of the area, so following the sunset back to your car is another low-tech navigation option.
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