Best Things to Do Badlands National Park
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There are a lot of buttes, canyons, pinnacles, and spires in this beautiful area of South Dakota. There are skeletons of three-toed horses and cats with saber-like teeth among the fossils found here. So, There is a lot of wildlife on the park’s 244,000 acres, and you can see it when you hike, camp, or drive the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway.

Read on for more trip planning tools and answers to the most common questions asked by visitors to Best Things to Do in Badlands National Park.

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Badlands National Park is a Special Place

As the sun goes down, it’s amazing to see the amber light sweep across the formations in the distance. Hearing the bison grunt from miles away, the coyotes howl, and the meadowlark sing in the evening will make you feel as if the cars, cities, and buildings that brought you here never existed.

Yes, the Badlands is a special place that stands for everything the National Parks of the United States stand for. I’ll keep coming back to this place to enjoy its quiet and open beauty.

About Our Travels to Badlands National Park

I went to the Badlands for the first time with my brother in 2016 when we were trying to capture the essence of the park for our film (see below). Since then, I’ve been back many, many times. Its vast, seemingly endless landscapes and magnificent formations left me with a lasting impression. The wide, quiet prairie here wraps you up in a way that only a national park can. Staring into the endless maze of badlands twisting into the distance like wrinkles in the palm of your hand and hearing nothing but the lonely prairie wind will leave you gasping for air.

Over a few weeks, my brother and I saw almost everything Badlands National Park has to offer. There’s a lot more to this park than meets the eye, so keep reading to learn about some of the best things to do there.

When to visit Badlands National Park?

Winter in Badlands (November-March)

Welcome to the park’s longest season! If you’re planning to visit the Badlands during winter, prepare for snow and cold temperatures. Winter storms are common, which can lead to temporary closures of many trails and roads as snow and ice are cleared.

However, visiting the Badlands in winter is ideal if you want to avoid crowds and save money. It’s a perfect season for snowshoeing enthusiasts who don’t mind the chilly weather.

Spring in Badlands (April-May)

Spring brings warmer weather and increased precipitation to Badlands National Park. Although typically dry, sudden spring rainstorms can cause closures, so be prepared for unpredictable weather.

Most park activities, including ranger programs, resume in May. Spring is a great time to visit if you want to beat the crowds without braving winter’s freezing temperatures.

Summer in Badlands (June-August)

Summer is the most popular time to visit Badlands National Park. With temperatures around 90 degrees, it’s essential to stay hydrated as the park gets very dry.

During summer, all ranger programs are active, and trails and roads are generally open without weather-related closures. Be prepared to share the park with many visitors experiencing the peak season.

Autumn in Badlands (September-October)

Fall is a transitional period in Badlands. Temperatures begin to drop, ranger programs wind down, and prime wildlife viewing opportunities decrease.

Autumn is a great time to visit to witness the changing leaves and enjoy some final hikes before winter. Crowd levels significantly drop in September and October, with cool and comfortable daytime temperatures.

Where to Stay Near Badlands National Park

If you’ve seen the movie “Nomadland,” you already know that Badlands is a popular place to camp and drive an RV. The Cedar Pass Campground is inside the park, right next to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. It has 96 sites for RVs and tents, and you can make online reservations. Sage Creek Campground also has 22 free sites that are first come, first served. Cedar Pass Lodge has eco-friendly, super-cute wood cabins with flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and mini-fridges. On the other end of the spectrum, off-trail backcountry camping is allowed anywhere in the park, as long as you set up your tent at least half a mile from the nearest road or trail.

Beyond the park, there are cabins and motels in Wall Drug and a lot of places to stay in Rapid City, like the famous Hotel Alex Johnson, which has a rooftop bar, which is another unusual sight in this part of the country. No matter where you stay, a trip to Badlands National Park will leave you awestruck by its dazzling night skies, its Jurassic-sized animals, and its otherworldly landscape.

Cost to visit Badlands National Park

The cost to get into Badlands National Park is a national park fee. In 2021, a 7-day pass to Badlands National Park cost $30 per car. There is no pass for one day. See what the current fees are. In general, if you’re going to visit more than three national parks in a year, it’s worth it to get an annual national park pass. However, some national parks don’t charge an entrance fee. The other national park in South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park, is free to get into. (However, tours of caves cost money!)

But if Badlands National Park is part of a larger South Dakota and Wyoming national parks road trip where you will also visit Devils Tower National Monument, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park, then the annual pass will be worth it! Craters of the Moon National Monument is further west in Idaho. You can buy a parking pass when you get to Badlands National Park as long as the entrance booth is staffed.

Distance from Rapid City to Badlands National Park

People who want to visit Badlands National Park often set up camp in Rapid City. Since it only takes about 62 miles (just under an hour) to drive from Rapid City to Badlands National Park, it makes sense to go there if you want more places to eat and things to do.

You can visit Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, and the Black Hills National Forest when you stay in Rapid City. Not everyone likes to change hotels every night, so we found that Rapid City was a great place to stay in between hotels to see all of the nature in western South Dakota.

How many days should you plan to spend in Badlands National Park?

Depending on whether you want to hike or see more than one unit, you can spend anywhere from a half day to several days in the park. If you just want to drive the 22-mile paved part and the 25-mile gravel part of Badlands Loop Road, plan on three hours with stops. So, If not, book a cabin or campsite for the night so you can see both the sunset and the night sky full of stars.

If you only have one day to spend in Badlands National Park, here are some good things to do:

From Rapid City, take Interstate 90 to the Minuteman Missile Visitor Center.

Watch the park movie at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center in the North Unit. If you are there in the summer, check out the paleontology lab.

Drive two miles northeast of the visitor center to where you can park. On the Door Trail, you might be able to hear the ranger talk. Don’t miss the Notch Trail, no matter what.

Backtrack to the visitor center and then head out on Badlands Loop Road, stopping to take pictures at places like Yellow Mounds and Pinnacles Outlook, where you might see some bighorn sheep.

Continue on the gravel road when the paved road ends. At Roberts Prairie Dog Town, you can see a lot of prairie dogs. Then leave through the park’s northwest corner. Or, if you time it right, you can go back to Pinnacles Outlook and take pictures of an amazing sunset.

Hotels Near Badlands National Park

You’ll have the most hotel options in Rapid City, SD, which is only about an hour west of the park. There are lots of restaurants, breweries, and shops where you can buy snacks and ice cream to keep the kids quiet when you need to. Plan some time to walk around the city, check out the parks, and if you have time, visit the Journey Museum.

We thought it was strange that hotels in Rapid City charged to use their pools, so we stayed away from those places. We found a few hotels with pools and waterslides for kids that don’t charge extra for the pool.

Does and Don’ts of the National Park

Don’t go up the buttes. They may look strong, but they are actually very weak, especially when it rains.

Make sure you take out everything you put in. Keep our parks clean so that your grandchildren can also enjoy them.

Do not get too close to animals, especially bison. They move much faster than they look, and in the past they have killed people. Baby bison are not there to make you laugh. A bison mother is very protective of her calf and will fight to keep it safe.

Prairie Dogs are cute, but not pets. You shouldn’t feed any animals in the park or try to get a prairie dog into your car. It sounds strange, but it does happen. And it is illegal.

No national park will let you bring a drone. Don’t be “that guy” who thinks he can fly his drone over without anyone noticing.

33 Best Things to Do in Badlands National Park

1. Planning Your Time

From the Northeast Entrance Station, Badlands Loop Road goes to Sage Creek Road. One-way, this road would take about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive without stopping. With the lookouts and short walks/hikes, this drive can take anywhere from a half day to a full day, depending on what you do.

2. Big Badlands Overlook

Depending on how you drive through the park, this will either be the first or last overlook. We like to go in through the Northeast entrance, so Big Badlands Overlook is the first place you’ll see this otherworldly landscape. Feel free to get out and take some pictures, but don’t stay too long because the best is yet to come! You can see a rock wall to the right. This is called the heart of Badlands.

3. Getting to Badlands National Park

Rapid City Regional Airport is where most people who go to Badlands National Park fly in (RAP). Rapid City, also known as the “Gateway to the Black Hills,” is a great place to spend the night and see what it has to offer, like the Journey Museum and Learning Center, The City of Presidents bronze statue collection in downtown, graffiti-covered Art Alley, and the interesting Reptile Gardens, which has one of the largest collections of reptiles in the world and is home to Maniac, the largest crocodile in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a must-see, especially when the animals are being fed.

4. Make your road trip planning simple

Make your road trip planning simple
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It can be hard to plan a trip to a national park. We’re here to make it easy for you. Use our maps to help you plan your trip and find the best places to stop along the way. When you use us to plan your road trip, it’s like having a guide who knows the area well. With Roadtrippers Plus, you can plan your road trip even better.

5. Take a Bicycle Tour Of The Park

Badlands National Parks have both paved paths and dirt roads where people can ride their bikes. This is a great way to see the park because it gives you more freedom than cars and is faster than walking.

6. Visit the Ben Reifel Visitor Center

The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is the park’s main hub. It is in the southeast corner of the North Unit. Here, you’ll find a 23-minute introductory movie, a schedule of ranger talks, a gift shop, interesting displays, and a paleontology lab (only open in the summer) where you can see real scientists working on fossils. The paleontologists are happy to talk about their work and answer questions.

The center is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 7 p.m.; in the winter, the hours are from 8 a.m. During the peak season, the center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Near the visitor center, there are rocks that people can climb if they are tired of driving. Just keep in mind that gravity still works in the Badlands. Be careful not to fall!

7. See The Wildlife

A lot of animals live in Badlands National Park. Some of the most common animals to see in the park are prairie dogs and bighorn sheep. However, the bison, which is the national mammal of the United States, is the most impressive animal to look out for. If a visitor is lucky and pays attention, they might also see Elks, black-footed ferrets, pronghorn, Prairie Rattlesnakes, and different kinds of birds.

8. Drive the Badlands National Park Loop Road

The loop road is probably the best way to drive around the park. It is a long road that goes for more than 30 miles. Now, it might only take 60 minutes to drive there, but I’m pretty sure it will take longer once you figure out how many stops you want to make.

Driving the loop road is one of the best things to do in Badlands National Park if you want to see a lot of the park. The road is well-paved and easy to follow, and it goes from the Pinnacles Entrance in the north to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Along the way, you can stop at trailheads, viewpoints, and vistas.

Make sure to stop at Pinnacles Overlook for the amazing views, Bigfoot Pass Overlook for a packed lunch, and Burns Basin Overlook for a look at the area. All of them are very pretty. One thing to remember is that if you see wildlife, you should always keep at least 100 feet between you and the animal. No one likes an explorer who isn’t careful.

9. Where to Eat – Restaurants

The world-famous Wall Drug is in the nearby town of Wall, South Dakota. It is a must-see for tourists. On your way to the park, you can’t help but hear about this famous place along the interstate, as it is cleverly advertised for hundreds of miles.

We like the breakfast at Wall Drug, which includes the world-famous 5-cent coffee. In addition to Wall Drug, there is a restaurant at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center with a small, simple menu.

There are a few more places to eat near the park. I’ve put links to the most popular ones below.

  • Wall Drug (Wall)
  • Restaurant Red Rock (Wall)
  • Badlands Bar (Wall)
  • Cedar Pass Lodge and Restaurant (The only restaurant within the park)
  • Subway (Wall)
  • Horseshoe Bar & Grill (Interior)

10. The Castle Trail

The Castle Trail
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The Castle Trail is a point-to-point trail that goes through the Badlands and is 5 miles long. It goes from the Fossil Exhibit Trail to the Window and Door Trails, which are both on Badlands Loop Drive. The Castle Trail can be hiked in many different ways. The best way to do it is from one place to another, but you will need someone to take you there and bring you back. You can also hike out and back, which is 10 miles in total. Your third choice is to just walk a part of it.

We hiked the whole Castle Trail, and the Saddle Pass, Castle Trail, and Medicine Root Loop were our favorite parts. This hike is about 2 hours long and is about 4.7 miles long. The first part of the trail up Saddle Pass is hard, but the rest is easy. Along the way, you can see the prairie and rocky pinnacles, and you might even see a bighorn sheep or pronghorn.

11. Hike the Door Trail

This is a great way to get close to the beautiful rock formations of the Badlands without going on a long hike. The Door Trail is 0.75 miles (round-trip) long, flat, and good for almost everyone. It starts out as a boardwalk (100 meters of the hike is on a boardwalk). Once you get off the boardwalk, you will walk 800 meters on rough, uneven ground into the Badlands.

The National Park Service says this part of the trail is hard, but I think most people will find it easy and fun. This short, fun hike is great for kids. Over 800 meters, the trail goes down into a field of fossil beds, and the whole way you can see the Badlands’ peaks and spires.

12. Window Trail

The Window Trail is a fun little path south of the Door Trail. It has a “window” that looks out into the canyon as well as other places to see the canyon. The trail is less than a quarter mile long, but it will give you a chance to stretch your legs and see the park from a different angle. Always stay on the trail.

13. The Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

The Cliff Shelf Nature Trail starts near the end of the Notch Trail’s last lookout point. Along “the Wall” and on the way up to the Notch, this trail gives you beautiful views. It’s a round-trip of 0.5 miles with a 300-foot gain in elevation, and it takes most people about 15 minutes.

14. Hop on the Notch Trail 

The Notch Trail is about 3–4 miles long and is one of the most beautiful things to do in Badlands National Park if you want to go hiking. The area around the trail is also a great place to watch the sunset. The whole White River Valley turns orange. Just be careful of rattlesnakes in the area. I saw them getting some sun here in the late afternoon.

15. Follow the Fossil Exhibit Trail

The Fossil Exhibit Trail is a boardwalk trail with fossil replicas and displays of animals that used to live in Badlands National Park but are now extinct. It is very interesting to walk along the boardwalk trail and amazing to see what animals used to live in this area millions of years ago. The whole family can enjoy it!

16. Its geologic formations are millions of years old

Many people think of rough rock formations when they hear the word “Badlands.” But they weren’t always here. Over tens of millions of years, this area went from being a sea to a subtropical forest to an open savanna, which caused layers of sedimentary rock to build up. After all of these layers were put down, water from the Black Hills started to wear away at this sediment, making valleys and other shapes in the landscape. This is how the Badlands we see today were made.

This process started about 500,000 years ago, but it is still going on today, eroding the Badlands by about an inch per year. Geologists think that the Badlands will be completely gone in another 500,000 years, so don’t wait that long to see them.

17. Spot the Badlands Wall

The Badlands Wall is probably one of the largest ridges in the whole park. It is an amazing and pretty big ridge that you shouldn’t miss. This is one of the best things to do while driving the Loop Road in Badlands National Park. It’s amazing to see how this 100-mile ridge goes back millions of years. It is just so unique!

18. Black Elk Peak

Black Elk Peak
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The herd of bison that roam free in Custer State Park is well-known. It is one of the biggest bison herds in the world, with about 1,500 animals. Other animals that live in the park are pronghorn, deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, burros, prairie dogs, coyotes, eagles, and wild turkeys. The Wildlife Loop Road, which is 18 miles (29 km) long, is a good place to see animals. Bison often stop traffic when they cross the road.

The Needles Highway is a 14-mile (23-km) route that winds through narrow tunnels and past rock formations that look like needles. One of these is the Needles Eye, a granite spire that is 30 to 40 feet (9 to 12 meters) high and has a small opening that is 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) wide. The park has several resorts and places to hike, ride bikes, climb rocks, and ride horses.

Several trails in the park lead to Black Elk Peak, which is the highest point in North America east of the Rocky Mountains and stands at 7,242 feet (2,207 meters). The University of South Dakota is connected to the Black Hills Playhouse, which puts on plays during the summer.

At the annual Buffalo Roundup, which is held at the beginning of October, the bison population is controlled by herding the animals into corrals where some are chosen to be sold at auction. Badlands National Park, Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Jewel Cave National Monument, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Crazy Horse Memorial are all close by.

19. You might find a saber-tooth cat

In 2010, a young visitor to Badlands National Park found a fossil and told park rangers about it. To her surprise, this visitor’s find was the well-preserved skull of a saber-toothed cat, which is very rare and hard to find. Sabertooth cats aren’t the only things hiding in the Badlands’ many layers of sediment, though. Fossils of many different animals and plants, like rhinoceroses and marine reptiles, can be found in the park as well. Fossils in the Badlands are from the late Eocene and Oligocene periods, when three-toed horses, camels, creodonts, and other interesting mammals roamed the world. You won’t find any dinosaurs here, though. Most of these fossils were made 30 to 40 million years after the last dinosaurs died out.

If you are exploring the Badlands and find a fossil, please do not move it. Instead, tell a park ranger about it so that it can be looked at where it is and possibly taken to the park’s Fossil Preparation Lab for testing and research. From the second week of June to the third week of September, you can go to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center’s Fossil Preparation Lab to watch paleontologists at work and learn more about the ancient life they get to work with every day.

20. Wildlife in Badlands National Park

Now, this isn’t a specific place in Badlands National Park. But it’s something to keep an eye out for as you drive through Badlands National Park. When you’re driving through the main part of Badlands National Park (the part between Interior SD and Wall SD on the map), you might see bighorn sheep the most.

So, keep your eyes open for animals as you drive through Badlands National Park. In Badlands National Park, there are also prairie dogs and buffalo. To do that, you’ll need to go further west toward Sage Creek.

Visit the Roberts Prairie Dog Town if you want to see prairie dogs. This is right next to the main road, which is lucky for the buffalo. Buffalo are wild animals, and they do what they want. But if you drive along Sage Creek Rim Road in Badlands National Park, you are more likely to see buffalo.

21. Badlands National Park Hikes

Near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, there are a few short hikes. Badlands National Park in South Dakota doesn’t have a “stay on the trail” rule like many other parks. You can stop at turnoffs and viewpoints to hike into the canyons and along the ridge. If you feel safe going, you are allowed to go. If you fall off a cliff or get lost, you can’t blame the park service.

22. Night sky program in Badlands National Park

If you go camping in Badlands National Park, you should look up at night, no matter which campground you stay at. If you’re not camping in Badlands National Park but are staying nearby, you might also lookup

If the sky is clear, you’ll be able to see a lot of stars and maybe even the Milky Way. You’re in the middle of nowhere, which makes it a great place to look at the stars at night.

23. Enjoy the Views at Pinnacles Overlook

Pinnacles Overlook is one of Badlands National Park’s most beautiful places to look out over the park. This high vantage point is the best place to get a good look at how unique this landscape is. At sunrise, the sun will light up the beautiful rock formations, and at sunset, the colors will take your breath away.

24. Watch The Sunrise Over The Badlands

Watch The Sunrise Over The Badlands
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In the Badlands, both sunrise and sunset are beautiful. But we like sunrise better than sunset. Why? One reason is that fewer people are willing to get up early and drive to the park. But the lighting is also very special. The Big Badlands Overlook is one of our favorite places to watch the sunrise in a national park (Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon are also spectacular).

You can hike into the hills or watch the sunrise from the viewing platform at the Big Badlands Overlook, which is a short walk from the parking lot. It’s worth the short walk to get closer to the colorful pinnacles and striped rock formations. The Big Badlands Overlook is where the picture on the front of this post was taken.

25. Watch the prairie dogs endlessly at Roberts Prairie Dog Town

You can’t go to the Badlands without meeting these cute, squabbling animals that live on the ground. This national park has a lot of prairie dogs and a lot of prairie dog towns, which are places where prairie dogs live together.

These cute animals are also very smart and very good at talking to each other. You can spend hours watching prairie dogs run around and yip and yelp at each other as they seem to get into trouble with their friends. Make sure to keep a safe distance from them as they go about their business.

26. Sheep Mountain Overlook

Sheep Mountain Road is a gravel road that goes through an area of Badlands National Park that is more remote. This road goes from the North Unit to the South Unit. The first part of Sheep Mountain Road is a well-kept gravel road. It goes through the same kind of badlands scenery that you can see on the Badlands Loop Road. It goes up a small hill to a great view. After the Sheep Mountain Overlook, the road goes into the South Unit and gets much rougher. To keep going, you need a vehicle with good ground clearance, and a 44 is recommended.

Normal cars and small SUVs can’t drive down this road. I don’t have pictures of what’s at the end of Sheep Mountain Road, and there are two reasons for that. We were in a small SUV and tried to drive further, but the road was so bad that we turned around almost right away. Second, the South Unit was closed when we were there because of COVID-19. If we had gone further, we would have had to turn around when we got to this boundary.

27. Yellow Hills Of The Badlands

This is not a mistake, but we thought it was great. As you drive toward the next overlook on our list, the Yellow Mound Overlook, you will see hills that are bright yellow. Here is a safe place to park your car and get out to look at the view, if you want to. The GPS coordinates are: 43°50’58.2″N 102°12’48.4″W

28. Stay at Cedar Pass Lodge

Do you want to spend a few days in Badlands National Park? Then you can stay at Cedar Pass Lodge or Cedar Pass Campground, whichever you prefer. For me, the best thing about the cabins is the air conditioning and the comfortable bed. During my road trip across the US, I camped, but after a long day of exploring, I missed a comfortable bed.

29. Explore the Badlands Backcountry

Sounds a bit vague, doesn’t it? Badlands National Park is an open hike park, which means you can hike anywhere in the park off-trail and camp anywhere in the backcountry as long as you follow the rules for backcountry camping.

Imagine picking a point in the distance, hiking to it, and then picking another point and hiking to it. It’s a freeing thought, and it’s even more fun in real life. To backcountry camp, you must set up your tent at least a half mile away from any roads or trails and keep them out of sight.

30. See The Park From More Overlooks

The views of the unique landscape are the most interesting thing about Badlands National Park. But one viewpoint doesn’t show the whole beauty of the landscape. That’s why there are many different views of the area in the park. Big Badlands Overlook is one of the most beautiful places in the park to watch the sunset and see the unique landscape. Other overlooks you shouldn’t miss are Badlands Wilderness Overlook, White River Valley Overlook, and Hay Butte Overlook.

31. Camping at Sage Creek Campground

Sage Creek Campground on the western side of Badlands National Park is by far my favorite of the two campgrounds there. We choose this campground every time we go camping if it’s still open. I like it better than the more popular Badlands Campground, which is next to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center but is farther away.

My brother and I joke that the camp host is a bison because there is always at least one in and around the campground. One of my favorite things to do at Badlands National Park is to relax and camp here.

32. Hike the Sage Creek Wilderness Area

Hiking in the Sage Creek Wilderness Area is a great way to see the backcountry of the Badlands. The Badlands is one of the few national parks where people can hike off the trail and explore the wild on their own. There are no maintained trails here, but you can walk around on your own if you want to.

There are several ways to get to the Sage Creek Wilderness Area. Sage Creek Campground is a popular starting point, but you can also start at Sage Creek Basin Overlook if you don’t want to drive that far down Sage Creek Rim Road. We did these things.

33. Red Shirt Table Overlook

The best place to see the South Unit of Badlands National Park is from the Red Shirt Table Overlook. The Red Shirt Overlook is on Highway 41 on the west side of the South Unit. When we were there, it was closed.

Tips To Have The Best Experience

The Cedar Pass Lodge is the only place to eat in the park. It is near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. There are no other places to eat in the park, so bring a picnic lunch for the day (especially if you only have one day in the park). It will take at least 30 minutes to get to and from Wall by car. This isn’t a bad choice because it will give you a break from sightseeing, crowds, and the heat of the day, but be aware of how much time you will lose by driving here.

Most of the larger trailheads have bathrooms. These include the Visitor Center, the Fossil Exhibit Trail, and the Door/Window/Notch Trailhead. On Badlands Loop Road, I don’t remember seeing any bathrooms on the lookout.

Recommendations for camera gear: We used a Canon 5D Mark IV camera with a 24-70 mm lens to take all of our photos. I think you should bring a wide-angle lens to take pictures of the beautiful landscapes and a good zoom lens to take pictures of the animals.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What is the best time of year to visit the Badlands?

Due to the higher number of tourists, the best times to visit the park are in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). If you go to the park in the summer, which is when most people go, try to hit the trails as early as you can to avoid crowds and the heat.

What town is closest to Badlands National Park?

Badlands National Park is 75 miles east of the South Dakota city of Rapid City. The physical address for the GPS* Park Headquarters is 25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750.

What is the most scenic route through the Badlands?

Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway (SD 240) is just a little two-lane state road, but it goes through some of the most beautiful buttes, cliffs, and multicolored spires in Badlands National Park over a distance of 31 miles.

Why is Badlands called bad?

The Lakota people called this area “mako sica,” which means “badlands,” because it was hard to get through because of its rocky terrain, lack of water, and high temperatures. Today, the Badlands is a great place to go hiking, look for fossils, take a drive through a beautiful area, and see wildlife.

Where do you stay when you visit Badlands National Park?

The Best Western Plains Motel is near the airport in Rapid City, South Dakota, making it easy for people who want to see the Badlands, Wall Drug, and Mount Rushmore to get there. There are 78 clean rooms and an indoor pool to make you feel at home. AAA members can get a discount.

Is it worth visiting Badlands National Park?

In this northern part of the park, you should go to the visitor center. Some exhibits explain the history of the park (these hills were once covered by an ancient inland sea), and you can also visit the fossil prep lab, where they work on the many fossils found in the Badlands.

Is the Badlands National Park open now?

The Badlands National Park is open all day, every day. All year long, people pay to get in. Roads that go through the Badlands may be closed in the winter or during extreme weather.

How long does it take to go through the Badlands National Park?

Park rangers say that you should spend two full days in the park to get the most out of it, but you can visit for less time. If you only have one full day, try to be at the park for both sunrise and sunset. The light that falls on the Badlands is amazing.

How long does it take to drive the Badlands Loop?

The 39-mile loop of South Dakota Highway 240 between Cactus Flat and Wall would take about an hour to drive without stopping, but almost no one does that.

How many entrances are there to Badlands National Park?

There are four main entrances to Badlands National Park, all of which are in good spots. One of these is the Interior Entrance, which is the park’s main entrance. Northeast Entrance: It’s easy to get to from I-90, and the Ben Reifel Visitor Center is close by.

Are there bathrooms in Badlands National Park?

The gift shop and dining room at Cedar Pass Lodge are easy to get to for everyone. There is reserved parking, ramps, wide doors, bathrooms, and wide aisles. If you want more information, you can call the Cedar Pass Lodge at (605)-433-5460.

Are there waterfalls in Badlands National Park?

Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish Falls, and Roughlock Falls were the names of these three. All of the waterfalls are close to each other, and you can get to them by driving on SR-14A, a very pretty road in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Are there rattlesnakes in Badlands National Park?

Most visitors to the park know about the Prairie Rattlesnakes, but Badlands is also home to seven other types of snakes, like this green racer. The open prairie and rough badlands don’t have many places to hide.

Do you have to pay to drive through the Badlands?

Badlands National Park is not charging the usual entrance fees of $30 for cars, $25 for motorcycles, and $15 for bikes.

Do I need reservations for Badlands?

Staying in Badlands and the nearby area. There aren’t many places to stay the night in the Badlands. You absolutely must make reservations ahead of time. Near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, Cedar Pass Lodge is a group of cabins.

Do you have to wear a mask in the Badlands National Park?

In places where the CDC says the COVID-19 level is high, masks are required for everyone in all NPS buildings, even if they have been vaccinated. Most low and medium-COVID-19 community-level areas don’t require masks, but visitors should pay attention to signs and follow the directions of park staff and volunteers.

Do I need a reservation for Badlands National Park?

Staying in Badlands and the nearby area. There aren’t many places to stay the night in the Badlands. You absolutely must make reservations ahead of time. Near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, Cedar Pass Lodge is a group of cabins.

Can I sleep in my car in Badlands National Park?

There are places to camp by car in Badlands National Park. In Badlands National Park, people who want to camp in their cars can choose between the Cedar Pass Campground and the more basic sites at the Sage Creek Campground.