Active Lifestyle

Badlands National Park Unlocks the Past

March 4, 2022 • Fenny Peiffer

Badlands National Park Unlocks the Past

Badlands National Park is a geologic vision of painted canyons, pinnacles, and spires that have been carved by the forces of nature to create the 244,000-acre expanse of mystical natural beauty. Located east of the Black Hills in western South Dakota, the dramatic Badlands are a sight to behold, and the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and aspiring paleontologists. Once the home of the Lakota American Indians and ancient creatures including the saber-toothed cat, this otherworldly location is an experience not to be missed.

Each year millions of people flock to Badlands National Park to gaze out at the mesmerizing rock striations, with their soft pastel hues, and ever-evolving sedimentary layers. The one-mile fossil bed exhibit trail takes visitors on a journey back in time through the White River Badlands to discover the fossilized remains of mammals dating back to ancient times, with guided tours, and hikes available to learn about the park’s rich history. For a look behind the scenes, The Fossil Preparation Lab gives an insider scientific view of the park’s ancient discoveries.

For an unforgettable scenic drive, Badlands Loop Scenic Byway boasts 38 miles of awe-inspiring views and breathtaking outlooks. Cyclists will find this stretch of road one of the most exhilarating and picturesque routes in the country where every turn is a canvas of natural artistry. A paradise for hikers, the park features a variety of trails for every level from Door Trail to the vigorous Saddle Pass, with an opportunity to explore the incredible rock formations, waving prairie grasslands, and native wildlife. From the majestic bison, buffalo, and bighorn sheep, to prairie dogs, and wild turkeys, Badlands National Park is dedicated to the preservation of this natural habitat.

For an extraordinary vacation experience, the park provides convenient overnight accommodation. For a night under starry skies, visitors can reserve a spot at one of two campgrounds with convenient picnic areas, and RV sites. For those preferring something more traditional, The Cedar Pass Lodge provides newly constructed eco-friendly cabins that offer all the comforts of home. Born from the elements, and changing with every breath of nature, the rugged terrain of Badlands National Park is a one-of-a-kind sensory experience.

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