Badlands National Park


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Badlands National Park was first designated a National Monument in 1939, and then received the full national park designation in 1978.

Badlands National Park offers one of the more interesting park experiences due to the mixture of the badland geology and the last, largest mixed grass prairie in the U.S. This combination creates one of the more particular atmospheres in the park system. You can walk several feet in what looks like standard midwest topography, and then suddenly encounter dramatic cliffs, spires and even a few cactuses. Badlands National Park is a great place to spend a few days camping with the family. 244,000 acres is very big for a national park east of the Rockies. The large size, varied hiking trails, camping, wildlife viewing and general sightseeing provide a rich experience for the park visitor. If in South Dakota, Badlands is a "must stop". Many people even make it a premiere destination.

Park facts:

Total acreage: 244,000
Official wilderness: 64, 250 acres
Square miles: 379
Highest point: 3,247 feet
Largest expanse of protected prairie in NPS
One of the world's richest fossil areas
home of the rare black-footed ferret
56 types of grasses
200 species of birds
Borders Buffalo Gap National Grassland


Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel Road
PO Box 6
Interior, SD 57750

Park Headquarters

Image note: This was taken in the eastern section of the park along the famous park road. The entire park contains fascinating and colorful geology such as this, but it is certainly more apparent and "popping" on the east side of the park. When looking at a map, one thinks that it would be fairly quick to drive from the wilderness western side of the park to the eastern hub. This would be an incorrect assumption. Badlands National Park is incredibly long, and driving the length of it will take up at least half a day. You definitely won't be skipping through on the way to some place else. It's a stop that demands you time and attention.


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