San Juan County, New Mexico

The Bisti Wilderness is situated roughly 35 miles south of the town of Farmington alongside New Mexico State Highway 371. It’s part of the bigger Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, which is run by the Bureau of Land Administration. All the wilderness lies inside the San Juan Basin.

Image taken at Bisti Wilderness

A night storm passes over the Egg Backyard in New Mexico’s Bisti Wilderness.

The basin was shaped over the past 70 million years by sedimentation, volcanism, plate tectonics and glacial erosion. Additional erosion from wind, water and annual freeze/thaw cycles has sculpted a wonderland of hoodoo gardens which are particularly apparent alongside the perimeters of the various washes that cross the basin. Two of those drainages are Hunter Wash and Alamo Wash, that are chargeable for carving the Bisti.

If you happen to comply with both of those predominant drainages into the various tributaries, you’ll discover a phantasmagoria of hoodoos and different unusual formations that make the world a scorching spot for panorama photographers.


The excessive deserts of New Mexico are excessive locations. In the summertime, temperatures at Bisti Wilderness can attain above 100 levels Fahrenheit, and a sudden thunderstorm can construct inside minutes, so come ready with loads of water to remain hydrated, raingear and sunscreen. I’d advise towards visiting the world throughout the months of July and August.

The winters right here might be bone-chillingly chilly. Temperatures hovering at or under zero aren’t unusual within the morning. I gown in layers throughout the winter, which allows me to regulate to the altering situations. The underside line is to make use of frequent sense and be ready.

One different factor to pay attention to whatever the season you intend to go to throughout is that when the clay-rich soil is moist, it turns into a quagmire, and whereas the highway from the freeway to the parking space is gravel and fairly nicely maintained, the locations you’ll be mountaineering in can turn into very muddy and slick.

Photograph Expertise At Bisti Wilderness

The Bisti Wilderness offers seemingly limitless alternatives for panorama photographers. The Brown Hoodoos, the Egg Backyard, Bisti Arch and the Stone Wings are just some of the extra well-known and photogenic options to be discovered right here.

As any good photographer will let you know, in case you have an attention-grabbing topic, you’re midway to a great picture. So, whereas I do advocate searching for out the long-lasting spots, I additionally know from expertise that the probabilities are limitless and might be discovered nearly wherever within the Bisti Wilderness.

Finest Instances

Any time of 12 months might be good right here, with the famous exceptions. Personally, I choose to {photograph} landscapes below stormy skies, so I typically plan my journeys to the Bisti after I know these situations are forecast. In fact, dawn or sundown present the “candy” gentle, however understand that an intensive exploration of this place requires at the very least two full days.

Contact: Bureau of Land Administration, to/bisti-de-na-zin-wilderness.

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