The Badlands are a wonderland of bizarre, colorful spires and pinnacles, massive buttes and deep gorges. The forces which carved these features have not only created a unique topography; they have given a strange beauty to this almost desolate land.
Visually, the Badlands are at their best early or late in the day when deep shadows define their forms. At first, neither the eye nor the mind can comprehend this natural wonder, because the visual images are totally foreign to any past experiences.
If you are thoroughly smitten by the Badlands, hike Saddle Pass Trail or the Castle Trail. The Fossil Exhibit Trail is a National Scenic Trail and one of the most heavily used of all park facilities, giving visitors a glimpse into the park's distant past. For even more adventure, strike out into the 64,000 acre Sage Creek Wilderness Area.
You may hike just about anywhere in the park, but you must keep your vehicle on the road. The fragile prairie may take decades to cover your tracks. Leave rocks, animals, and plants as you find them.
Badlands National Park also preserves the world's greatest fossil beds of animals from the Oligocene Epoch of the Age of Mammals. In prehistory, the area was a marsh that supported incredible numbers of saber-toothed cats, miniature camels and horses, and even gigantic rhinoceros-like beasts, called titanotheres.
The Badlands Loop Scenic Byway consists of a 32 mile drive through Badlands National Park. To access the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, take Interstate 90 to Exit 131 or Exit 110. The Ben Reifel Visitor Center in Badlands National Park is open year around.
You may contact Badlands National Park at:
Badlands National Park
PO Box 6
Interior SD 57750