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How to find Alien Throne and Valley of Dreams New Mexico?

Have you seen images of the Alien Throne and the Valley of Dreams, New Mexico? Would you like to witness this otherworldly landscape in person? Look no further. Here are some tips for you! Valley of Dream is just one small part of the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area, and in this article, you will find out how to reach this mesmerizing scenery. We give detailed driving and hiking directions, a map, and many hints.

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Alien Throne in Valley of Dreams New Mexico during sunny day with a blue sky

What is Valley of Dreams, New Mexico?

Valley of Dreams, with the most famous Alien Throne rocks formation, is part of the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area near Nageezi and Farmington, northwestern New Mexico badlands.

These rock formations were formed over millennia and are late Cretaceous period. The area, known for its rolling clay hills sculpted by water, is adorned with sandstone cap rocks and picturesque hills in shades of olive green.

hoodoos in Valley of Dreams New Mexico

This article focuses on the Valley of Dreams, New Mexico west of Ah Shi Sle Pah. In this article, you will learn how to get to the otherworldly Alien Thron and Valley of Dreams in the fastest and easiest way. This article will be especially useful to you if:

  • You have limited time traveling around New Mexico and dream of seeing this particular rock formation.
  • You want to take pictures of Alien Throne and Valley of Dreams at sunrise, so time to get to the spot matters.
  • Or do you want to take pictures of the Alien Throne and Valley of Dreams at sunset or dream of photographing the Milky Way Galaxy in this location? So the fastest, shortest, and most straightforward route matters when navigating trailless terrain in the dark.
Alien Throne New Mexico
Alien Throne in Valley of Dreams New Mexico

The photos presented in this article also show rock formations from this small area of Ah-Shi-Sle Pah, which is the Valley of Dreams with the Alien Throne. This article is entirely focused on this part of the wilderness.

hoodoos in Valley of Dreams New Mexico

Our Experiences with Valley of Dreams New Mexico

Chris and I have visited this area several times, so we give you tips based on our experience. We also have prepared for you a detailed guide for exploring and hiking Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah. All you should know on how to reach this deserted landscape without marked trails.

We described for you tips and up-to-date regulations about all parts of this Wilderness Study Area. So read this article first to know what is essential for a safe trek, when to go, where to stay, and how to pack.

We have also prepared an article about reaching another famous Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah rock formation, the King of Wings. Moreover, we had the opportunity to admire the neighboring formations of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness.

All pictures presented in this article were taken during our New Mexico adventures, as we have been to this amazing state a few times.

Agnes Stabinska, the author and co-owner of The Van Escape blog, is photographing Valley of Dreams New Mexico
Chris Labanowski, co-owner of the Van Escape blog is hiking in Valley of Dreams New Mexico

Please check out our brief video of the New Mexico badlands. We used a phone and a DJI handheld camera to film it since drones are prohibited in this area.

Where is the Valley of Dreams?

Valley of Dreams, New Mexico, is near Chaco Culture National Historical Park, about 70 miles from Farmington and 90 miles from Shiprock Formation. From Albuquerque, it will be at least 3 hours of driving via US-550 N.

From the historic city of Santa Fe, it will be at least 3 hours and 20 minutes of driving via US-550 N.

Below we give you detailed driving directions based on our own experience. Hiking from this spot gives you the easiest and fastest route to the Valley of Dreams and Alien Throne. This route can be completely impassable when wet. Also, remember that you will not have telephone and internet coverage immediately after leaving the main road.

sunset over Valley of Dreams New Mexico

The BLM manages this area. However, you will be driving, parking, and traversing the Native American Lands, private lands, so please respect this place and familiarize yourself with the key rules of the Tribal Lands. It’s a desert with no marked trails and no signposts.

There are no facilities, restrooms, or water. So remember to follow the no-leave trace principles. And most of all, bring a lot of water and protect yourself from the sun. You will be wholly cut off from civilization in the middle of nowhere. The surrounding landscapes may make you feel like you’ve landed on an extraterrestrial planet. Alien planet.

Chris in Valley of Dreams New Mexico

Valley of Dreams New Mexico Directions from Farmington

How to get to Valley of Dreams from Farmington? You have two roads leading to the Valley of Dreams trailhead from Farmington. It is important to note that the parking area and formations at Valley of Dreams are situated on Tribal lands. Therefore, it is not advisable to camp in that area.

Our Tip: If you drive from Farmington, check out our top things to do in Farmington and its area.

hoodoos Valley of Dreams
hoodoos Valley of Dreams

Option 1

Option 1 is good if you are heading to Valley of Dreams New Mexico, from the Bisti/De-na-zin wilderness parking lot or Farmington.

Take road 371 South. After about 45 miles driving this way, you should notice a crossroad with 7650 dirt road. Take a turn left. Drive for about 8 miles until T crossing with dirt road 7870. Take the right turn.

Continue for about 8 miles and when you see a crossing take a sharp turn left to the road without a number – if you choose the correct route, you will reach your next turn after about 1 mile – turn left, and you will be at the destination shortly.

You can watch for burned car or just a parking lot on the Valley of Dreams cliff. It will be next to road 7022. If you miss the turn and reach Road 57, you must turn over and try to find the small dirt road.

wild horses in Valley of Dreams

Option 2

Option 2 is better for driving directly from Farmington. It is longer but better-quality gravel.

Take road 550 South to Nageezi (about 50 miles). In Nageezi, when you pass Post Office on your right, turn right onto road 7800 and continue straight for about 8 miles. When you reach T crossing with road 7840, continue on 7800 (to the left) for about 3 miles.

You should get another T crossing with road 57 (should be marked). Now, take a left turn and continue on 57th for another 6 miles. You should pass the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah parking lot on your right but continue.

After 2.5 miles from this sign should be a right turn onto Road 7870. Take it and drive straight for about 1 mile, passing some houses on your right. Observe for crossing on your right. Take it and go for another 1.1 miles until you reach a sharp turn left. Take it, and after 0.3 miles, you will see a parking lot on your right.

Please Note: Remember, this is not an official trailhead, this is not an official parking lot, or an official marked trail. There are no marked trails in this area. It’s a wilderness. You hike and explore this area at your own risk.

our red jeep on desert
hiking path to hoodoos

Where is the Alien Throne in New Mexico?

Alien Throne is a part of the badlands of Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico. It’s located in part named Valley of Dreams. The easiest and fastest way to get to this formation is from the parking lot to which we gave you directions above. We are also sharing our hiking map to Alien Throne with you (a few chapters below).

Alien Throne Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah
Chris hiking Valley of Dreams Loop

What is the GPS coordinates for the Alien Throne?

Latitude: 36.14889° or 36° 8′ 56″ north
Longitude: -107.98072° or 107° 58′ 51″ west

We recommend using this map of Alien Throne because it is one of the most accurate, which shows these hard-to-reach New Mexico rock formations. The AllTrails App on which you have the Valley of Dreams Loop will also be helpful.

How tall is the Alien Throne?

Sculpted by Mother Nature or perhaps by Aliens, the Alien Throne, with its irregular openings, columns, and hoodoo seat atop a spire, rises to a height of 9.84 feet (3 m).

Chris with hoodoos
hoodoos in Valley of Dreams

Valley of Dreams New Mexico Hike

Remember that there are no officially marked trails in this area, so all data you will encounter are approximate. Each hike may look a bit different. It could be shorter, could be longer. It may also turn out that you miss some rocks. Or due to erosion, wind, rain, or flash flooding, a hoodoo’s formations look utterly different from the pictures you have seen online. We share our experiences and our Valley of Dreams Loop.

The Valley of Dreams trail we took in the New Mexico badlands was not very difficult compared to others we’ve done. It was actually the easiest trek out of all the badlands we have visited, including Bisti Badlands and the Kings of Wings formation. However, it’s essential to prepare well and not underestimate the route.

Even though we have years of experience hiking off-road terrain, we continually assess the risks and prepare accordingly when venturing into the desert. The wilderness can be pretty demanding. So, it’s essential to be cautious. We encourage you to read our tips on what to pack for this hike and what rules apply to this Wilderness.

Agnes Stabinska, the author and co-owner of the Van Escape blog is hiking Valley of Dreams Loop.
Chris Labanowski, co-owner of The Van Escape blog, is photographing rocks formations

Valley of Dreams Loop

The Valley of Dreams Loop is a 3.7-mile trail ranging from easy to moderate. It can be challenging to hike during hot days when the sun is intense, so bringing plenty of water is essential. The trail has no shade and requires hiking on soft, sandy ground. However, the Valley of Dreams New Mexico Loop is primarily flat, with only a slight increase in elevation when entering the badlands area.

It would be best to allow at least 3 hours for the Valley of Dreams loop with time for photos. We visited this place twice, once before sunset (blue hour) and in the morning. Now we are planning to go there for night and sunset photos.

small plants on New Mexico desert
wild horses in New Mexico

How does the Valley of Dreams New Mexico hike look?

If you look from above, from the trailhead, you can see the rock formations. It is essential to remember that this area belongs to the Tribal community, so it is crucial to show respect and avoid littering. To get to the Valley of Dreams formation, locate the narrow pathway. Additionally, it is common to see horses in this region that the Tribal people own. Don’t approach horses, don’t disturb them. Use Zoom if you want to take a picture.

The terrain is relatively flat, but the sun can be tiring, so take plenty of water and cover your whole body. You’ll see more once you reach the first rock formations in the distance, so it’s pretty easy to get to the Alien Throne, as the route is pretty straightforward.

petrified wood

Valley of Dreams New Mexico – Our Hiking Map

Below is a map of our hike, registered with Fenix 6 Pro Solar Smartwatch.

Exciting Rock Formations in Valley of Dreams New Mexico

As you look upon the landscape, you will be amazed by the abundance of clay badlands, hoodoos, toadstools, pinnacles, petrified wood, and washes. Each one seems more otherworldly than the last. And hiking in this scenery is highly picturesque.

Besides the famous Alien Throne, you have many other exciting formations. Some already have names, so try to find them: Three Wise Man, Mushroom Seat, Hoodo with 2 Legs, Chocolate Penguin King, and Giant Mushroom.

Please Note: Remember that climbing these delicate rock formations is forbidden. Nor can you destroy them, draw them, or take away any stones, bones, or petrified wood. It is also forbidden to use any vehicles and use drones. Campfires are not allowed. Respect this terrain created over millions of years. Leave no trace.

huge balanced rocks
hoodoos in Valley of Dreams

Alien Throne and Valley of Dreams New Mexico – Conclusion

Of all the badlands formations of New Mexico we have visited so far, both Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah and Bisti, in our opinion, Valley of Dreams is the most spectacular. It offers mesmerizing views of rock formations. The rock formations in this area are the most varied and exciting. Apart from the famous Alien Thron, all the rocks around it and in this area are impressive.

All this landscape looks like a Land of Enchantment. We were particularly impressed with the photographic potential of this part of Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah and plan to revisit it soon to capture the beauty of the sunset and night sky.

If you plan to visit this region, remember that these are Native American Lands, and their customs should be respected. So we encourage you to read our previous comprehensive guide to Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah to be well-prepared for your trek through the Valley of Dreams in New Mexico.

rock formations in Valley of Dreams

One Comment

  1. Great article Agnes! Do you have the GPS coordinates for the Giant Mushroom and how far is it from the Alien Throne?

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