Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a top attraction that you won't want to miss!

A trip to the Badlands National Park while you are in this area is a must! It is like stepping back in time.

Make sure to put the Badlands on top of your "to do" list! This is such a neat place to visit, if you have not been to South Dakota before, make sure to put time in the trip to stop and explore the Badlands.

It is a beautiful scenic drive that merits a slow go on the gas peddle, slow down and really soak this one in!

There are easy going hikes (and some very challenging hikes also) found here, and right off of the roadside. We highly recommend getting out and doing a few of these hikes.

Sunset over the Badlands

Did you know?

There is just tons of information to know about the Badlands, here are just a few quick facts to get interest piqued.

  • Badlands National Park sees over 1 million visitors a year
  • The Lakota Indians gave this eerie land it's name, in their native tongue it is
    Mako Sica, or the "Bad Lands"
  • It officially became Badlands National Park in 1978
  • The Badlands is comprised of 3 large "units" the North unit, the Stronghold Unit (South)and the Palmer Creek Unit (South)
  • The Buffalo Gap National Grassland is the largest contiguous prairie land in the US with a total of 244,000 acres. Badlands consists of 64,000 acres inside of this
  • The Oglala-Lakota Tribe manage the South Badlands
  • Wounded Knee is 25 Miles South of White River Visitor Center
  • The South Unit was used as a bombing range during WWII
  • Pres. Kennedy called these Minute Man Missiles an "Ace in the Hole"
  • The Black Footed Ferret was re-introduced here, it is the most endangered land mammal in the US
  • The Badlands are Internationally known for their fossils, there are loads of them here!
  • Your Park pass is good for 7 days after purchase

The Badlands have provided the eerie landscape and backdrop for many movie sets over the years. One of the more famous ones is the movie "Starship Troopers" which used the Badlands as a background for another planet.

Dances With Wolves (Prairie scenes around this area, Black Hills scenes in Spearfish Canyon), North by Northwest and National Treasure (Mount Rushmore area) are probably the most famous movies of all filmed in South Dakota. You can still see some of the movie sets used in Dances with Wolves at the Fort Hayes Chuckwagon off of HWY 16 outside of Rapid City.

Badlands National Park

The Badlands are squelching hot and dry during "full on" summer days! We love to see it during sunrise or sunset, talk about amazing photo opportunities!

Badlands National Par

Wildlife viewing

Early morning or early evening is your best time to see wildlife as well. This barren dessert like area supports lots of wildlife These animals are adapted and made to live under such harsh conditions. Some of the animals you can hope to see here are:

  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Big Horn Sheep
  • Buffalo
  • Mule Deer
  • Prairie Dogs
  • Black Footed Ferrets
  • Burrowing Owls
  • Rattlesnakes
  • The ever elusive Jack-A-Lope (kidding!)

There are scores of hiking trails, and we love to hike! If you love to hike make sure to hit a few while you are there. Early day is best for less heat if you are going in the summer. Some of the best known hiking trails are:

  • The Fossil Exhibit Trail
  • Cliff Shelf Nature Trail
  • Door Trail
  • Castle Trail

The National Park also offers Ranger Guided Hikes.

Please take LOTS of water on any hike you plan out here. Every year the news talks of Tourists that have lost their way or slipped and fallen and need to be dramatically rescued.

This is unforgiving terrain, and although the Park allows hiking anywhere within it's boundaries, staying on designated paths can be the best choice, especially for novice hikers.

This is an absolute lovely area, and so much fun to explore! The Badlands National Park is in the Wall SD area, home to the famous Wall Drug! You can easily spend a solid day in this area! Enjoy!

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Hi, I am Jo. Welcome!
I have lived and played in the Black Hills all my life. I grew up camping, fishing, hiking, kickin it up at the Motorcycle Rallies and touring our area attractions. I want to show you the locals Black Hills, our secret  places to play, visit and eat! Please stay and browse around, and come back often too, I am always adding new reviews. Thanks for stopping by.

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The Badlands are one of my favorite places to go. I always get excited when we are going. It's a long drive from Rapid City but it is worth it. When we get there I just can't wait to climb the sand dunes, it's so much fun! I love to see the views, see new animals, and see the museum. The Badlands are a lot of fun for the whole family.

K.C. age 11

Movies made in
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