United States South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Stark landscapes with eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blend with protected mixed-grass prairie in this South Dakota park known for fossils.

Tips from the community

A C-shaped swathe of carved mountains all dappled by different hues of red and orange, the Badlands are South Dakota both raw and wild. Those on the 240 highway that wiggles through the upper and more accessible part of the reserve are treated to visions of sun-cracked canyons and painted walls of rock ad infinitum. Down south, things switch from grassy plains roamed by bison to dusty ridges watched over by bighorn sheep. Inside Badlands National Park, there are some good short hikes, an excellent visitor’s center, and fossil viewing to boot.

jrfrancis 4 years ago

The Badlands of South Dakota are one of America’s most striking regions. Triangular mountains loom above lush rivers and prairies roll to the horizon. There are some seriously primitive campgrounds that’ll have you feeling like a pioneer in the midst of it all.

jrfrancis 3 years ago

As night falls, the unpopulated area of Badlands makes for the perfect opportunity to enjoy the stars. The park offers Night Sky Viewings led by park rangers and astronomy volunteers to educate guests about the sky. 

nicolejordan 3 years ago

Badlands National Park in South Dakota is famous for its rich fossil beds and rugged stone landscape that contrasts against lush green plantlife. Wildlife including prairie dogs, sheep, and bison roam the grassy areas of the park while uniquely sculpted stones create excellent backdrops for the adventure of a lifetime.

seeker 3 years ago

Great park with some fun, kid-friendly hikes. We especially liked the Door Trail: safe-ish way to climb out over the rocks with young kids!

amanda.t.dwyer 3 years ago

Hiking, free camping in Wall, SD nearby

lwithrow 3 years ago

Badlands National Park Guides

Badlands National Park Articles

  • Badlands National Park: The Complete Guide for 2023

    Badlands? Why would you name a national park bad-lands? Well, the Oglala Lakota People were the first to name this site. They originally called this area “mako sica,” which translates to “land bad.” When French fur trappers traveled through, they called the area “les mauvaises terres à traverser” or “bad lands to travel across.” Rugged […]