Badlands National Park Things to Do

  • Badlands National Park
    Badlands National Park
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  • Watch out for rattlesnakes!
    Watch out for rattlesnakes!
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  • An unusually green and flourishing Badlands
    An unusually green and flourishing...
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Most Recent Things to Do in Badlands National Park

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    Visitor Center

    by yooperprof Written Oct 14, 2006

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    Be sure to stop in at the Visitors Center for information about the history, flora and fauna, and climate of the Badlands. There's an excellent short film, and several interesting displays, as well as a gift shop with an assortments of books, maps, guides, and other touristiana.

    ("Touristiana" is a new word - I just invented it.)

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    Notch Trail

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Apr 19, 2006

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    The ladder on Notch Trail

    Most of the hikes in the park are not too difficult. What makes this one a little unique is a ladder you have to climb in the middle of the trail. It's not so bad going up, but those afraid of heights will gulp a little as they prepare to go back down!

    The trail itself is a few miles north of the Ben Reifel visitor center. It's about 1.5 miles roundtrip. Once you get past the ladder, it becomes a little difficult to figure out exactly where to go, and what we presumed was the trail got narrow with a sharp drop off. We backtracked at this point, but still were able to enjoy some of the surrounding scenery.

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    Badlands Loop Road

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Apr 19, 2006

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    The Badlands

    It's called a loop, but it drives from one end of the park to another, rather than looping around the actual park. In any case, this is a paved road, with about a dozen overlooks and a few trails for hiking opportunities. Most of the overlooks give you a chance to pullover and take in a panoramic view of the Badlands. Since this park is fairly compact, I would say it's worth it to stop at all of them, because time won't be an issue if you plan to spend a day in the park. One easy stop to make is for the Fossil Exhibit trail, which is a 1/4 mile and exhibits some of the fossils found in the park.

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    Sage Creek Rim Road

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Apr 19, 2006

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    Bison in the Badlands

    As you enter the park from the north on 240, you are presented with a choice of turning east and taking the main scenic drive, or you can head west along this road. It's far less popular, possibly because it isn't paved. There is a benefit to taking the road on top of avoiding the crowds. I found the wildlife viewing to be more abudnant for one - we saw bison as well as a large prairie dog town (the town is actually a pull-off from the road.) You can wander a little further from the overlooks and down some worn trails to get some nice pictures of the badlands.

    There's little to see once you get past the prairie dog town. You will pass a campground, but the area gets pretty desloate. I recommend driving this road out to the prairie dogs, then turn back to see the rest of the park.

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    BadLands National park

    by BLSM Updated Nov 4, 2003

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    Badlands

    There are two entrances to Badlands National Park. You follow the highway south out of Wall across the interstate(Exit 109), 7 miles. This will take you to the Pinnacles Entrance. Or Take Exit 131of Interstate 29 south 11 miles to the Northeast Entrance. The fee is $10 per vehicle(Car),or $5 per motorcycle + $5 per extra passenger. It is good for seven days so you can do a quick pass through on your way to Rapid City and go back again at no charge within a week.

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    Colorful Pictures

    by paulscuba Written Jul 3, 2003

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    Cool formation with some color

    The rock formations have layers of colors. If the day is sunny you may have a difficult time getting those colors to show up nicely. You can try using a polarizer if you can use one. To get the colors to show up best take the pictures early. Most of the better views you can get to easily from the road had the morning light. If you are lucky you get an overcast day and the colors come out in force.

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    From the top of the Wall

    by zrim Written Apr 6, 2003

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    rugged landscape

    When entering the park from the north you will be on the top of the wall and can look south over the endless prairie that is broken only by the gruesome cliffs and valleys of this topographic anomaly.

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    Wall (2)

    by zrim Written Apr 6, 2003

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    Badlands, South Dakota

    If you enter the park from the south you will see the Wall rise out of the prairie. The closer you get the more odd the landscape appears. The eroding forces of wind and water have blasted this formation over the millenia to form a bizarre work of art--like something out the mind of Salvador Dali.

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    The Wall

    by zrim Written Apr 6, 2003

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    The Wall

    With all due respect to Pink Floyd, this Wall is not coming down anytime soon. It rises out of the prairie like an eerie hobgoblin. Especially interesting to view at dawn or dusk as the light plays over the tortured landscape.

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    Sage Creek Basin

    by Basaic Written Nov 22, 2011

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    Sage Creek Basin
    1 more image

    The last stop I toured was the Sage Creek Basin Overlook. It is just past the prairie dog town and is one of the better places to see Pronghorns.

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    Ancient Hunters

    by Basaic Written Nov 22, 2011

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    Ancient Hunters Viewpoint
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    Archeologists have found strong evidence that this area was used extensively for hunting about 1000 years ago.

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    Burns Basin

    by Basaic Written Nov 22, 2011

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    Burns Basin
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    Burns Basin shows how the basically lifeless hills of the badlands can support a richer soil that allows these small patches of prairie to survive.

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    Flower

    by Basaic Written Nov 19, 2011

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    Flower

    The badlands is a desolate place but there is more life here than you may think. Come in the spring after a good rain and flowers will dot the desert terrain.

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Badlands National Park Things to Do

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