"Awesome Badlands National Park!" Top 5 Page for this destination Badlands National Park by Bwana_Brown

Badlands National Park Travel Guide: 150 reviews and 427 photos

On the long Labour Day weekend of 2008, my wife and I decided to add my Friday birthday to it, giving us a four-day extravaganza that would enable us to make the long drive from Saskatchewan, Canada to South Dakota. One of our main reasons for making the trip was to see Badlands National Park, reported to be one of the most scenic of the parks and yet hardly ever heard of.

It took us a day to drive the 930-km required to reach the area, another day to explore Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, take an 1880's era train ride and then explore the Crazy Horse Memorial. That just left us one day to check out what Badlands National Park had to offer before returning home the next day. It may have been a short visit, but it certainly was enjoyable as we were fortunate to have beautiful sunny weather for our cruise through its 'North Unit'. Why not come along on our drive as I take you through it step by step?

This Google map gives an overview of Badlands National Park at bottom-right, along with the 'pink' driving route from our accommodations located at Hill City in the Black Hills. What is now the 'North Unit' of the park (the large area toward the east) started out as the Badlands National Monument in 1939. In 1976, an agreement was made with the local Sioux Nation to include their lands as well (the attached green area at the bottom of the map) as the 'South Unit'. This expansion led to Badlands finally being designated as a National Park in 1978, with the Sioux still administering their portion of the Park. Today, the South Unit continues to be somewhat underdeveloped with limited access via unpaved roads, leaving the North Unit as the major tourist draw. Since our time was short, we kept our visit down to just the North Unit.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Totally amazing scenery, and lots of it!
  • Cons:Sort of in the middle of nowhere - but that can be good too
  • In a nutshell:A great National Park, much better than I expected
  • Last visit to Badlands National Park: Aug 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (16)

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2009 at 2:03 PM

    I'm ready to load the truck and head tot he Rim Road. Always wanted to see the badlands. Thanks for the fantastic tips and great photos. Hope your birthday finds you on another great adventure.

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    I love the desert scenery there, and the area's history is fascinating too.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2008 at 6:01 AM

    very scenic place to visit the sad history that is here - thanks for your lovely photos.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2008 at 2:35 AM

    One of the NPs I've yet to visit but it's on the wish-list! Tahnks for the very informative tips and photos - you've given me a great sense of what a trip here is like and the highlights to look out for

  • Luchonda's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2008 at 5:21 AM

    Exellent page and landscape pictures.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Sep 28, 2008 at 7:27 AM

    Picturesque landscapes and wonderful photos! Thanks colleague Glenn for the virtual tour!

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2008 at 12:48 AM

    Stunning rugged landscape!

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2008 at 5:04 PM

    I haven't been to the Badlands since the 70s so it was a nice nostalgic look at the place. I didn't know there were rattlesnakes that far north-yikes!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2008 at 5:52 AM

    Haven't visited the Badlands and Wall, S.D. since the 1980's but your page makes me think it would be fun to take another look at this beautiful part of our country!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    What a fantastic landscape, Glenn! And you were indeed lucky with the weather, the rocks seem to glow! I should add Badlands to my wishlist, it is definitely my kind of place! And your hotel also sounds very good!


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