I’ve been working on the photos for this post for several months now. Last November my husband got me a guided photography tour to the Bisti Badlands for my birthday. I used Jim Caffrey who has High Desert Photo Tours. I highly recommend him. He was fun, informative, patient and knowledgeable.
I went for 2 days and hiked about 17 miles total. For those of you not familiar with the Bisti Badlands, it is a vast area of 45,000 acres in the northwest portion of New Mexico. It was established in 1984 as a wilderness area to preserve the desolate beauty of New Mexico geology at its finest.
Because this area is so vast, you could spend days wandering and not really see many of the formations this area is known for. You could also get completely turned around and be in serious trouble if you lose your way. So having a guide like Jim was the best way to see this natural beauty. He has given tours here for years and took me directly to all the cool places with minimal energy expended.
I took over 5,000 photos during my two-day adventure. So you can imagine it took me months to cull and then edit my photos. Because the formations are so unique, I found I took several shots of the same thing. Trying to see if different angles looked better. Whew! It was a job narrowing down my choices. So get ready to see a lot of photos!
So here’s a rundown of Day 1 of my two-day hike in the Bisti Badlands.
Day 1 – a beautiful sunny day with a few wispy clouds. We headed up the main gulch from the designated parking area. Think of the main gulch as your interstate to the badlands. It can get you where you need to go, but there’s nothing interesting on it. You have to venture off the main trail to see the goodies.
This was the first image I took that day. I was in heaven from the first image to the last.
We wound our way up and over a hill to an area filled with hoodoos. Jim said this was in a way a nursery of newborn hoodoos. And it was! The hoodoos were young and just being formed from the side of the wash.
From there we headed further east paralleling the main wash. We came across an area that had several “wings”. They are called wings because the rock has eroded in such a fashion that it is delicate and looks like an open wing.
We eventually came across a formation that looked more like adolescents in age. It is interesting that these formations were all grouped in a clump away from anything else. If you didn’t know they were there, you could easily miss them.
Further along we meandered to an area that had some formations that looked like dinosaur bones scattered. These rocks were huge. So beautiful. I had a hard time capturing them in a photo that did them justice.
We eventually made it to the “egg garden”. This area is called such because the rock formations look like dinosaur eggs. Who knows!?! They just might be!! Sadly, these “eggs” used to be much more beautiful. Over time they had oxidized and gotten a beautiful dark patina to them. But within the last couple of hears, a hail storm had come through and knocked off most of the patina. It will probably take a few hundred more years to get it back. But I still thought they were beautiful.
Heading further east from the egg garden, we came across an area with petrified wood. Now it wasn’t just small pieces here and there. I’m talking entire trees!!!
From here we entered an area that Jim call “hoodoo overload”. They were everywhere! I just loved it! It was easy to spend a lot of time in this area.
There was more petrified wood in this area too. The wood was preserved so well that you could see all the texture. It looked like wood, not rock. Amazing!
From here we headed back to the car down the main wash. There was one place along the wash that had an interesting formation. The rock had so much iron it looked very rusty.
I had a great Day 1. Next time Day 2! A whole completely different area and views!
14 thoughts on “Bisti Badlands – Day 1 of 2”
What a great trip and fabulous photos! Can’t wait to see Day 2. Only been out there once, by myself, and have long meant to get back someday.
Thanks Joe! It’s a fabulous place. You definitely need to go again. If you want to go together sometime I know where all the good stuff is now 😁
Very interesting place and great shots!
Nature has truly decorated the Bisti Badlands and you showcased absolutely stunning captures. Amazing work, Kelly. What a day! I’m looking forward to Day 2! 🙂
Thank you so much Donna! It was a great day!
Wow Kelly! what amazing rock formations, could only be the work of one very artistic and all powerful Sculpturer! Thanks for sharing these wonderful images of His handiwork.
I agree! God does some amazing things!
Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing! The rocks are similar to Red Rock Canyon here in Vegas but no Hoodoos that I’m aware of. ❤️👍🏻🌴🌵
Thank you John! I used to live in Vegas and loved red rock canyon. Have you been to the badlands east of Vegas? I want to go there so much!
No I haven’t, never heard of this place – where is it?
It’s called Valley of Fire State Park. Looks fabulous. Another place I’ve been that’s about 2.5 hours from you is cathedral gorge state park. So cool! Worth the trip!
Not been to Cathedral Gorge but haver been through Valley of Fire SP a few times. A landscape photographer’s dream!
OMG! These stunning landscapes as portrayed by you are AMAZING! I went through your pictures several times, couldn’t get enough of the egg valley and all the other striking finds. What a great present and adventure! Would love to visit at some point.
Great, great, great!!!
I have to go there. Perhaps next year.
Sometimes my WordPress doesn’t work and I am missing my comments. Sorry, when you have received two comments! Simone