South Dakota

South Dakota is located in the upper Midwestern United States. It is the 46th most populous state. South Dakota is also the 17th largest among 50 states of America. The neighboring states of South Dakota include Nebraska to the south, Wyoming and Montana to the west, Minnesota, and Iowa to the east, and North Dakota to the north. South Dakota attained its statehood on 2nd November 1889 and has become the 40th state to join the union. The capital of South Dakota is Pierre. 

South Dakota has a strong agricultural base and it is the largest industry in the state. This state ranks well among the top 10 states for the production of honey, soybeans, wheat, corn, sunflowers, cattle, rye, and hay. South Dakota is filled with art, culture, history, and it offers many outdoor activities. There are two attractive national parks in South Dakota and they are:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota. The park has about 242,756 acres that preserve sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles along with the mixed-grass prairie. The beauty of the national park brings visitors from all over the world. The geological deposits have one of the world’s richest fossil beds. You can also see animals like bison, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, and black-footed ferrets.

Badlands national park is the perfect place for hikers and photographers. There are almost 400 plant species. The best time to visit this national park is from late August through September. If you want to avoid crowds, you can visit from April to May and from September to October. 

Things to do in Badlands National Park

  • Drive Badlands Loop Road
  • Watch the sunrise 
  • Sunset 
  • The Notch Trail
  • The Castle Trail
  • Fossil Exhibit Trail
  • Window Trail
  • Hike the Door Trail
  • The Cliff Shelf Nature Trail
  • Drive Sage Creek Rim Road
  • Roberts Prairie Dog Town
  • Hike the Sage Creek Wilderness Area
  • Hike the Deer Heaven Wilderness Area
  • Sheep Mountain Overlook
  • Red Shirt Table Overlook

Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park is located in western South Dakota which is 10 miles north of the town of Hot Springs. It was the 7th national park and the first cave to be designated a national park. The cave is well known for its calcite formations known as boxwork and about 95 percent of the world’s discovered boxwork formations are found in the Wind Cave National Park. 

Animals like elk, bison and other wildlife roam around the prairie grasslands and in the forested hillsides. Wind Cave is located below the remnant island of intact prairie and it is one of the longest and complex caves in the world. This cave is well known for barometric winds in the entrance, a maze of passages that are home to boxwork, and its unique formation. 

Things to do in the Wind Cave National Park

  • Pet-Friendly Hikes
  • Hiking at Wind Cave
  • Watch Wind Cave Wildlife
  • Become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger
  • Ranking Ridge Nature Trail
  • Elk Mountain Nature Trail
  • Wind Cave Canyon Trail
  • Candlelight Cave Tour
  • Beaver Creek Bridge
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