Badlands National Park – At a GlanceOctober 18th, 2012 | Posted by in Parks | The Places We've Been | United States
We entered Badlands National Park after sunset. There was just enough moonlight to vaguely make out the dark and ominous formations looming over us as we drove to one of the park’s campgrounds to set up for the night. After a brief encounter with a porcupine, we were down for the night, then packed up before sunrise to hit the Loop Road as the first rays were peaking out from behind the many peaks and spires that dot the prairie. Here is Badlands National Park at a glance:
Location: Southwest South Dakota
Nearest Town: Wall, SD – home of the world famous tourist attraction Wall Drug Store
Nearest City: Rapid City, SD (population 68,000)
Founded: 1939 as a national monument, redesignated as a national park in 1978
Area: 244,000 acres (381 square miles)
Hours and Seasons: The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The smaller of the two visitors centers is only open during the summer, and roads may be periodically closed during inclement weather in winter.
Entrance Fees: $15 per vehicle (valid for 7 days)
Description: The badlands is a rugged landscape, consisting of mixed-grass prairie interspersed with dramatic colored peaks, buttes, spires, pinnacles and gullies. The park is home to prairie dogs, bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and endangered black-footed ferret.
Things To Do:
- Drive the Loop Road through the park
- Hike through the park’s prairie and unique geologic formations
- Check out the award winning park video and exhibits at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
- Watch a sunrise or sunset from any of the park’s amazing vistas
- Watch the activity at a prairie dog town
- Camp in one of the two campgrounds ($16 per night for tents)
- Bonus: Mt. Rushmore is less than 100 miles from the park
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