Description - Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. Sixty-four thousand acres are designated official wilderness and is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America. The Stronghold Unit is co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and includes the sites of 1890's Ghost Dances.
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Badlands National Park
Over 11,000 years of human history pales to the eons old paleontological resources within the park. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old. The evolution of mammal species such as the horse, sheep, rhinoceros and pig can be studied in the Badlands formations.
Recreation - This park supports a variety of activities for the outdoor enthusiast and the curious tourist alike. A good place to begin your tour of the park is one of the two visitor centers. The Ben Reifel Visitor Center, located at Cedar Pass, has exhibits, orientation film and park headquarters. The White River Visitor Center, located in the Stronghold District, is open June through August.
For visitors interested in scenic driving the 30 mile Loop Drive can be accessed from Interstate 90. The 30 mile Sage Creek Road is gravel. Hikers and walkers will enjoy five trails, varying from one-fourth mile to eight miles in length, that explore a variety of park features. Camping is available in the park year round. No reservations are accepted at these sites.
Climate - Southwestern South Dakota experiences hot, dry summers with occasional violent thunderstorms. Winters are typically very cold with 12 to 24 inches of snowfall. Extremely high winds are common year-round, so hats and sunglasses are needed.
Badlands National Park is located south of Interstate 90 in southwestern South Dakota. It is neighbored to the east and west by the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.