Don’t let the name fool you; South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is a favorite among travelers. The sprawling 244,000 acres encompass historic fossils and geologic features, hiking and biking trails for all levels, and jagged buttes, spires, pinnacles, and canyons. Visitors can spot prairie dogs roaming the mixed-grass prairie, along with bison. Although summer is peak season for visitors, if equipped with the proper gear, even winter in the Badlands can prove an enjoyable experience.
Outdoor Activities: Explore the wind-blown grasslands on foot along an extensive network of trails winding past badland formations and through canyons. Or cyclists can explore the park unimpeded by a windshield on designated paved, gravel and dirt roads. Take advantage of the park’s remote location and South Dakota’s relatively flat terrain by joining the Night Sky Program and looking skyward toward millions of stars. And for those interested in prehistoric life, don’t miss the Paleontology Lab opening May 27th, 2014. Families will enjoy the Ranger Programs, which offer educational and fun activities for all ages.
Staying Around the Park: When it comes to lodging, camping is the top pick. Choose between Cedar Pass Campground and the Sage Creek Campground. Each offers year-round accommodations and stunning scenery. Can’t choose between the two? The Cedar Pass Campground is located near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and offers straight shot views of the Badlands. At the horse-friendly Sage Creek Campground, expect to see bison wander through the campground.