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Badlands National Park
Photo of Badlands National Park courtesy NPS

We visited the Badlands in July of 2009 on the way to Yellowstone and the Tetons. Our visit consisted of a drive through the park from East to West. We stopped at the Big Badlands Overlook which was really interesting. It kind of looked like the moon. All you could see was hot dry rocks. There are a few bushes and trees in the park, but not many, and not much shade. We stopped several other places along the way to check out the amazing rock formations. We ate lunch at Bigfoot Pass Overlook where the temperature was 102. A few hours later when we arrived at Mount Rushmore the temperature was in the 60s. I have heard the campground in the Northern Unit is very nice, but we did not stay there. Make sure your radiator is full before you head into the badlands in the summer.

The badlands are like nothing I have seen anywhere else and worth a trip off the highway to see.

From the NPS
Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. The Badlands Wilderness Area covers 64,000 acres and is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America. The Stronghold Unit is co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and includes sites of 1890s Ghost Dances. Established as Badlands National Monument in 1939, the area was redesignated "National Park" in 1978. Over 11,000 years of human history pale to the ages old paleontological resources. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old. Scientists can study the evolution of mammal species such as the horse, sheep, rhinoceros and pig in the Badlands formations.

Have you visited Badlands National Park?

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Facilities available at Badlands National Park:

Badlands National Park website
Recreation Area Map
Park Email:

Phone numbers
Visitor Information 605-433-5361

Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel RD P.O. Box 6
Interior, SD 57750