Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota, United States. It was established as a national monument in 1939. Badland is hot and sunny during summer in winter is cold and windy and there is only little water in Badlands. The park is an amazing place to visit and explore, but it is very harsh to live in Badland. The Oglala Lakota people were the first to give the name Badlands due to the harsh, rocky landscape.
Even though the park has rock formation and harsh weather Badlands will be on the bucket list of photographers and hikers. The park has a unique landscape that is truly beautiful which has inspired photographers. It also offers hikers a new opportunity. Badlands is not only rocks it is home to mixed-grass prairie and over 400 species of plant life.
There are even fossils that are millions of years old. You can find fossils of ancient creatures like three-toed horses, rhinoceroses, Oligocene, and marine reptiles. These fossils are on display in the Fossil Exhibit Trail.
Best Time to Visit Badland National Park:
The best time to visit Badlands National Park in late August through September. You want to avoid crowds you can visit from April to May and September to October. In early August the park reaches 100 degrees.
Expenses to Visit Badland National Park:
- 7-day fee for a private vehicle cost $30
- 7-day fee for Individual cost $15
- 7-days fee for motorcycle cost $25
- The annual pass cost $50 does not include camping or give any type of discount
- Commercial vehicle with a capacity of 1 to 6 passenger cost $25 plus $10 per person
- Commercial vehicle with a capacity of 7 to 15 passenger cost $50
- Commercial vehicle with a capacity of 16 to 25 passenger cost $60
- Commercial vehicle with a capacity of 26 or more passenger cost $150
Cedar Pass Campground: Campground has 96 level sites with scenic views of the badlands formations
Sage Creek Campground: The campground is free, But has no reservation first-come-first-serve with 22 sites located. They provide pit toilets and covered picnic tables are available, but not water.
Things To Do in Badland National Park:
Drive Through the Badland Loop:
Drive through the Badland loop offers you some amazing views especially the South Unit is one of the beautiful parts of Badlands National Park. If you like driving you can choose the south unit, you could enjoy the drive with a breathtaking view of the park.
Explore the Yellow Hills of Badland:
You can explore the Yellow Hill which looks like painted hills you can even see some yellow portion besides red color. Yellow Hills is the perfect spot to take some amazing pictures.
Enjoy Badland Sunrise and Sunset:
The must-do in Badlands National Park is to watch the sunset or sunrise. If you are a photographer you will get some stunning pictures, the warm and soft sunlight makes the park look like a dreamland. The colors will give life to your photos.
If you want to see the sunrise Door and Window Trails is the perfect spot. When the sunlight hits the rock turns orange giving a breathtaking view. It’s worth waking up early to see the amazing view of nature which you cant find in the city.
Enjoy Stargazing :
Badland National Park even has stargazing events called Night Sky Viewings every night in the spring, summer, and fall. Badlands almost has no pollution so can see thousands of stars. The park also hosts AstroFest it’s a night sky celebration, where you get to see the sky with an astronomy expert.
During the event, the park rangers show you constellations, nebulae, planets, and stars which is a 60-minute program. They even provide telescopes so you don’t have to bring any.
Door and Window Trail:
Door and Window trail is the hike in Badlands National Park. Window Trail is a quarter-mile an easy hike that is suitable for all even for kids. The trail leads to the view of orange canyon dramatically carved spires, and pinnacles giving a stunning view of Badlands.
Followed by Window Trail is Door Trail. When you reach the trail there is a short boardwalk which is a passageway to a viewing platform where you get to see a breathtaking view.
Big Badland Overlook:
Big Badlands Overlook gives the view of the eastern portion of the Badlands wall. You even get an Amazing view of zebra hill
Hike to Notch Trail:
The Notch Trail is the most thrilling hike in Badlands National Park. It has a short ladder climb and a scenic cliff walk which give you a different experience.