The Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area is located in northwestern New Mexico and is a badland area of rolling water-carved clay hills. The area is rich in fossils and spectacular geological formations making it perfect for hiking and landscape photography!
On US Highway 550, 7.5 miles northwest of Nageezi, NM along NM 57.
Ah-shi-sle-pah is a landscape of sandstone caprocks and scenic olive-colored hills. This scenic New Mexico badlands area features soft colors rarely seen elsewhere. From nearby Alien Throne and King of Wings to Valley of Dreams, this recreation area is known across the globe for its geological eye candy. Visitors to New Mexico should add the Bisti Badlands and Ah-shi-sle-pah to their must-explore list.
Directions to Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area
The Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area (AWSA) is best accessed from US Highway 550 on NM 57. The turn-off for NM 57 is 7.5 miles northwest of Nageezi, NM and north of the turn off for Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Turn west onto NM 57. You will drive south/southwest approximately 13.5 miles, at which point NM 57 forms the boundary of the WSA. For the next 4 ¾ miles, the WSA will be on your right.
Maps of Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area
The BLM manages the AWSA. The map that they offer denotes the WSA boundaries. The WSA and Bisti Badlands are wilderness areas, there are no marked trails and official trail hiking maps are not produced by the BLM. You will encounter various directions online, simply be cautious of the source and rely on a hiking GPS unit to confirm your location.
Looking for a tour guide? We understand that exploring a wilderness area for the first time can be intimidating for some. The following entities offer guided tours of the region and are recommended.
Things To Know Before You Go
There are no developed trails in the WSA. It is easy to get lost while exploring. Bring a hiking GPS unit or compass to help navigate the area.
- Visit the Farmington BLM District Office website to check for advisories or restrictions
- Garman, Google Maps, Waze and Map Quest do not always offer reliable directions to this site
- There are no facilities, come prepared
- This is a true wilderness area, there are no marked trails
- Bring lots of water
- Good hiking shoes are a must
- Cell phone reception is spotty
- There is little to no shade, be careful when hiking in high temperatures
- Check the weather before visiting, roads and terrain may become impassable in wet weather
- Watch for snakes
- Watch for flash floods in the wash
What To Do in Ah-shi-sle-pah WSA
- Pack out what you pack in
- Explore unique landscapes
- Identify fossils and petrified wood
- Wildlife viewing
What Not To Do in Ah-shi-sle-pah WSA
- A special permit is required to film or photograph for commercial use
- Motorized vehicles and bikes are not permitted in the wilderness
- Campfires are not permitted
- Do not remove rocks, fossils or petrified wood
- Drone use is prohibited