The 41,170-acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a remote desolate area of steeply eroded 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 and fossils. It is an ever-changing environment that offers the visitor a remote wilderness experience. Translated from the Navajo language, Bisti means “a large area of shale hills” and is commonly pronounced (Bis-tie). De-Na-Zin (Deh-nah-zin) takes its name from the Navajo words for “cranes.” Petroglyphs of cranes have been found south of the wilderness area.
The two major geological formations found in the wilderness are the Fruitland Formation and the Kirtland Shale. The Fruitland Formation makes up most of what the visitor will see while in the badlands and contains interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. The weathering of the sandstone forms the many spires and hoodoos (sculpted rock) found throughout the area. The Kirtland Shale contains rock of various colors and dominates the eastern part of the wilderness.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness to protect the area’s naturalness, special features, and opportunities for solitude and primitive types of recreation. All Wildernesses must be used and managed in ways that will leave them unimpaired for the use and enjoyment of future generations. Please do your part to preserve the valuable resource of wilderness. Enjoy your stay but please leave no trace of your visit. Click here for more information related to Wilderness.
Primitive types of recreation, such as hiking, backpacking, camping, wildlife viewing, photography, and horseback riding.
Parking is available at both the Bisti and De-Na-Zin access points. No facilities are located at the wilderness area so be sure to take plenty of water with you.
Location & Access
The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is about 30 miles (as the raven flies) south of Farmington, NM. To reach the Bisti access off NM 371, go 36½ miles from the San Juan River crossing, take a left turn on NCM (non-county-maintained) Road 7297 and follow a gravel road for approximately 2 miles to the Bisti parking lot. This turn is about 46 miles north of Crownpoint, NM, just past the crest of the hill after crossing the Don Gleason Bridge over De-Na-Zin Wash. The De-Na-Zin parking lot and access is off County Road 7500, which connects US Highway 550 (at Huerfano Trading Post) with NM 371, 8 miles south of the Bisti access exit. It is important to note that County Road 7500 can become impassible in bad weather.
Check weather conditions in the area prior to visiting. Roads and wilderness terrain may become slick or impassible in wet weather.