Located about a 3-hour drive from Albuquerque, or a one-hour one from Farmington, the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, run by the Bureau of Land Management, is like a moonscape. The trailhead for the Bisti and the trailhead for Be-Na-Zin are within a short driving distance from one another. Because we left from Albuquerque and returned that evening, we had time to visit just Bisti, so we would very much like to return.
In addition to geologic formations, there are petrified wood and bones, including those of dinosaurs. Collecting fossils and petrified wood is forbidden.
Camping is allowed at the badlands, but no motorized vehicles. It would be wonderful to hike in with a tent and be able to capture the sunset, sunrise or a full moon over the geologic formations. There is no water available, so if you do that, take plenty with you. Horses are allowed, but the same caution for water applies.
The ground is fine when it is dry, but turns to sticky clay when it is wet, so get a good weather report before going. Because of the washouts from water, a trail does not really exist. You can hike in any direction for as long as you wish, but you may get turned around, and getting lost would be a disturbing feeling. We countered this by using an app called “map my hike,” but a GPS would also work. There are maps available on the Internet, but we would advise using one together with a GPS. There are no fees to explore this highly photogenic place, and autumn would be a wonderful time to do so when the weather is dry, the temperatures mild, and the wind not a factor.