10 Reasons to Visit the South Dakota Badlands [PICS]
Returning from a weekend trip to Rapid City for state basketball tournaments we decided to visit the Badlands National Park.
A quick turn-off I-90 will take you into some of the most awe-inspiring scenery. Here are 10 facts about the Badlands:
Named "mako sica" - or "bad lands" - long ago by the Lakota Natives, this rocky terrain offers a great place for fossil hunting and seeing wildlife - both of which you must leave in the park.
One of our favorite places to hike is the Saddle Pass Trail. It's a great uphill hike to get to the top but the view is stunning. Good footwear is a must as the terrain is slippery from fine dust and it gets quite steep at times.
Yes, there are rattlesnakes in the Badlands National Park. Stay on the trails and if you here a rattling sound, step back slowly and go around.
The boys made it to the top of Saddle Pass Trail.
There is no shortage of prairie dogs in the Badlands. This fella was just waiting for a handout.
There are 16 lookout points and observation areas along the scenic 39 mile long Badlands Loop Road. (MAP)
The Badlands was made a national park on November 10, 1978, and is over 250,000 acres!
Nearly a million people visit the Badlands every year. It's not only a good summer road trip, but the winter is spectacular!
The rugged terrain was formed by weather, the elements, and water. Lots of water. According to the markers placed throughout the park, the entire area was once underwater. They estimate around 75 million years ago! It's hard to fathom that an ancient sea was in land-locked South Dakota.
The Badlands are eroding about one inch per year, according to the National Park Service.
It's also fun to note that several big-screen movies were filmed in the Badlands. Dances With Wolves, Starship Troopers, Armageddon, and most recently, Academy Award winner, Nomadland.
It's a spectacular park with tons to do. If you're setting out on a hike, bring lots of water and sign the hikers logs at the trailheads. It could save your life. It's a tough place to survive.