Take a Trip, Mid-West: The Badlands

Take a Trip, Mid-West: The Badlands

South Dakota


This was another great park that we were able to visit, but were only able to do a quick tour. You could spend hours in this amazing park! This park spans 244,000 acres! It is filled with unique geologic deposits that are like “micro mountains.” These deposits contain some of the richest concentration of fossils and contain animals that once roamed here! This park is rugged and beautiful, and is open to hiking and rock climbing. Lets discover this park together!

History of the Park

The badlands were unprotected until 1939 when President Roosevelt declared that it was a National Monument. It was not until 1978 that it was officially made an National Park. Before it was declared by President Roosevelt to be a National Monument, locals had recognized it as protected and had been fighting for it to be officially protected. In the 1920’s two men: homesteader Ben Millard and U.S. Senator Norbeck, fought for nearly a decade to make it protected. In 1929 they finally had gotten the result they were looking for, when it gained approval to be considered a National Monument.

Top Attractions

Highway Loop 240 – If you don’t have more than a day at this park, the views and beauty of the park will be the best part. The Badlands are filled with such a unique array of landscape, and the geologic deposits are so unique you will want to take them in as much as you can. This loop that goes through the park will give you a front row seat to the beauty that this national monument has to offer.

Hiking – This has been a theme with many of our National Parks. But this is one park where if you have the time, you will definitely want to hike some of the trails that this park contains. You will need to make sure you bring water, sunglasses and a hat because of the arid conditions. Throughout this park you can go on trails that allow you to climb some of these geologic deposits, experience the prairie and get up close and personal with this unique setting. You won’t be able to hike like this anywhere else and you wont want to miss it. Here is a link to different trails in the park: http://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

Night Sky Viewing – Have you ever seen those pictures of the night sky that you just don’t get from your backyard? That is because of all the light that our cities produce. Out in the badlands there is little to no light pollution, which gives you a stunning view of the stars. There is a campground where you and your family can enjoy this awesome opportunity to gaze at the stars.

Places to Stay

There are just a couple of spots to stay. If you want to spend more time at this park, camping will be the route you should go. If you love the outdoors and have the time, this would be a great place to enjoy your passion! Here is a link to a listing of places to stay: http://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/eatingsleeping.htm

This park was amazing to just drive to and check out, I cannot imagine what it would be like to spend a weekend camping there!