AS THE MAYOR OF FARMINGTON, Nate Duckett appreciates the northwestern New Mexico town’s outdoor adventures, contemporary art and culture, and unique dining and shopping. But Duckett believes it’s Farmington’s people that make it special. “The diversity of place and of people are unique,” he says.

Once home to Ancestral Puebloan people and later the Navajo, Ute, and Jicarilla Apache, Farmington lies tucked among mesas at the lush confluence of the La Plata, Animas, and San Juan rivers. Yet this region’s distinctive history dates back some 74 million years to when dinosaurs roamed what is now the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. This surreal 45,000-acre landscape, about an hour south of Farmington, is filled with fantastical rock formations shaped by time and weather, along with petrified logs and fossils. Guided experiences can be had through Navajo Tours USA or Journey Into the Past Tours. “The Bisti is part of the magic of this place,” says Duckett.

After exploring this extraterrestrial-like landscape, visitors can discover just how much it inspires Farmington. Stop in the HEart Gallery to see works that capture the Bisti’s strange beauty. Fuel up with a blue-corn porridge Bisti Bowl from Juniper Coffee & Eatery or grab a Yellow Hoodoos with Alien Eggs boba drink from Oso Grande Coffee Company. At Traegers Bar, order a Bisti Burro, a margarita and Moscow mule blend with a green-chile kick. Three Rivers Brewery also answers the call of the Bisti with its light-bodied German-style Bisti Pilsner.

In 2019, Bisti Bay Water Park opened. Inspired by Bisti, the park features hoodoo-like splash pads and a water bucket featuring the Bisti Beast.


Travel through time at the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. “There are few places better for seeing the history of the Earth revealed in the geology of the landscape,” says John Burris, geology professor at San Juan College, in Farmington.