Badlands National Park Travel Guide

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Photo of Badlands National Park Photo: Andrew Mace, Fodors.com member

Plan Your Badlands National Park Vacation

So stark and forbidding are the chiseled spires, ragged ridgelines, and deep ravines of South Dakota's badlands that Lieutenant Colonel George Custer once described them as "hell with the fires burned out." Although a bit more accessible than the depths of the underworld, the landscape is easily the strangest in the Great Plains. Ruthlessly ravaged over the ages by wind and rain, the 380 square miles of wild terrain continue to erode and evolve, sometimes visibly changing shape in a few days. Prairie creatures thrive on the untamed territory, and animal fossils are in abundance.

Hotels

Badlands National Park Hotels

Badlands National Park is often visited by families on a vacation to see the American West, but few opt to stay overnight here, especially when there's...read more

Restaurants

Badlands National Park Restaurants

Dining on the prairies of South Dakota has always been a casual and family-oriented experience, and in that sense little has changed in the past century...read more

Things To Do

Things To Do in Badlands National Park

Explore the best sights, entertainment, and shopping with our top choices and insider tips.

Hotels

Badlands National Park Experiences

  • Top Reasons to Go to Badlands National Park

    Fossils: From the mid-1800s, the fossil-rich Badlands area has welcomed paleontologists, research institutions, and fossil hunters who have discovered... Read more

  • Peter Norbeck's Park

    Much of the credit for setting aside South Dakota's badlands as public lands is owed to Peter Norbeck, a powerful politician who was also largely... Read more

  • Plants and Wildlife in Badlands

    The park's sharply defined cliffs, canyons, and mesas are near-deserts with little plant growth. Most of the park, however, is made up of mixed-grass... Read more

  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    In late December 1890 the men of the Seventh Cavalry, armed with a federal mandate (and some light artillery), intercepted a group of 350 Lakota... Read more

  • Best Campgrounds in Badlands

    Pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars is one of the greatest ways to fully experience the sheer isolation and unadulterated empty spaces... Read more

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