The 41,170-acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico 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 manages the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness to protect the area’s naturalness, special features, and opportunities for solitude and primitive types of recreation. Primitive types of recreation, such as hiking, backpacking, camping, wildlife viewing, photography, and horseback riding.
Learn more: on.doi.gov/1r37qgJ
Photo: Bob Wick, BLM California