The Badlands National Park includes 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires as well as mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, endangered black-footed ferrets, and swift fox roam. The park is also the world’s richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating from 37 million years ago. Click Here for Another Picture
Badlands National Park
|Distance||55 miles if you know the shortcut and don't mind gravel roads, otherwise figure on 70 miles|
|Time Needed:||The better part of a day|
|Best Time To Go:||At sunrise or sunset
The park is open all year, however some facilities are not.
Interpretive programs for the 2009 season will end at the last weekend in August. White River Visitor Center closes for the winter on August 31.
|Directions:||Follow US 16A north to US 16. Follow 16 east to Rapid City, then take I-90 east to Wall. Take the Badlands loop, Hwy. 240 south out of Wall|
|Cost:||National Park entrance fees and rules apply.
|Highlights:||Spectacular bluffs, wildlife, fossils & rattlesnakes|
Open All Year
Badlands National Park is definitely
a "must see" place. Most tourists take the Badlands Loop
240) which exits off of I-90 at exits 110 and 131. If
you are on a
tight schedule, this 35-mile drive (it takes about an
hour) is the
quickest way to get a taste of the Badlands.
However, if you want to get more of the feel of the place you need to get out and walk. There are numerous short National Park Service trails right off the Badlands Loop highway. There are also nearly 30 scenic overlooks where you can snap photos.
The more energetic may want to dawn their hiking gear and set out on some of the longer trails -- or even head out cross country. Make sure you're prepared however. Take along food and lots of water. A few words of warning: 1. Although there are many fossils in the Badlands, picking them up is against the law, so don't. 2. We weren't kidding about the rattlesnakes. The Badlands are full of them. If that sort of fauna bothers you, stick to the marked trails and you'll never see them.
Info: The Badlands National Park, 25216 Ben Reifel Road, P.O. Box 6, Interior, South Dakota 57750. Phone: (605) 433-5361. Fax: (605) 433-5404.
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