badlands

  • Southwestern South Dakota
  • Established November 10, 1978
  • 380 square miles

There used to be camels in the Badlands! The camels are gone now, along with the three-hoed horses and saber-toothed cats, but it’s not hard to imagine them in this austere and mystery-laden landscape. There are still plenty of bison, pronghorn, and big-horn sheep roaming around the grasslands and prairies of Badlands National Park, along with more than 50 kinds of wild grasses and 200 varieties of wildflowers, and underneath it all is the world’s most abundant repository of fossils from the Oligocene period. Those fossils are how paleontologists know about the camels.

What’s most magnificent about Badlands National Park, however, is the rock. The pinnacles and spires and buttes, the 100-mile natural stone Wall, the wind and rain-made landscape, all pull visitors deeper into wonder. In recent history, the Badlands have been thought of as harsh and cruel. Pioneers passed through as quickly as they could. The weather is severe, the landscape dry. Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer called it hell without the fire. But to the Lakota, this is a sacred place, and it’s not hard to see why.

National Parks Revealed will help you experience the Badlands in the way you best see fit. We recommend combining a trip to Badlands National Park with visits to Wind Cave National Park, Rushmore National Monument, Devil’s Tower National Monument, and Crazy Horse Memorial. We work with private guides who can take you to out-of-the-way places, or, if you prefer to explore on your own, we can recommend routes and create itineraries that will help you fully experience the Badlands. We work with the best hotels in the area to make this an all-around fantastic trip.