A joy to explore by foot, the park has some of the most colorful badlands and rock formations to be found anywhere. Visitors often catch a glimpse of the rich wildlife, such as the swift fox, the black-footed ferret, bighorn sheep, and bison.
Offering amazing views of the badlands, this quarter-mile boardwalk trail offers an educational jaunt through the geography and prehistory of the badlands, dotted with displays of authentic fossils.
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the Castle Trail. Your chances of spotting a bighorn sheep up-close are very high here, as this 10-mile trail is positively teeming with them. Not to mention that it boasts some of the best views in the park. The otherworldly landscape transports you to a different planet altogether.
Intrepid hikers can ascend a long and steep ladder of logs and rope to an area with a superb outlook over the White River Valley. The trail stretches for a 1.5 mi. round-trip.
Badlands presents a number of opportunities for exploration and discovery. From auto-touring to bird watching, hiking to camping, visitors can look forward to an array of fun activities. Quality hotels near Badlands National Park are the perfect places to relax and recuperate at the end of the day before heading out again on new adventures.
Badlands National Park contains some of the most sprawling, breathtaking terrain in South Dakota, the ideal landscape for horseback riding. Except for some marked roads, trails, and developed areas you can ride freely in most areas of the park. A common favorite with riders is the park’s mixed-grass prairie.
Roads designated for bicycles within Badlands National Park are both paved and unpaved. The Sheep Mountain Table Road presents riders with ideal topography for mountain biking. A total of seven miles long, it is level for the first three miles, where the road ascends and then levels out again. The top of the trail offers magnificent views of the entire park.
Camping in the park puts you amid the glory of the rugged landscape, beneath wide open skies. Sage Creek Campground and Cedar Pass Campground are the two options for camping. Here you can commune with the native flora and fauna and take in the stunning sunrises and sunsets. Visitors should note that bringing wood and creating campfires is prohibited. Campers can, however, use contained charcoal grills and camping stoves on the campgrounds, but must ensure that the charcoal has cooled down entirely before disposing of it to prevent trash fires.
Badlands National Park is home to various points of interest for the whole family. You can make the most of a short trip to the park by booking one of various Badlands National Park cabins for your stay.
Shedding light on the paleontology, prairie ecology, and cultural history of the White River Badlands, the center curates many fine exhibits, some interactive, geared towards all age groups. Kids relish in the opportunity to assemble a virtual skeleton with a touchscreen and equally enjoy hands-on experiences with cast fossils of animals. The visitor center's ranger programs, meanwhile, include activities and hikes that are suitable for everyone. You can also get your copy of the GPS Adventure Activity Book here and use it to navigate your way to the park's highlights, such as wayside exhibits, natural trails, and geographical features.
Located in the visitor center, the paleontology laboratory gives you access to paleontologists live at work. Observing them as they go about preparing fossils makes for a fascinating and educational experience.
You can enjoy the celestial wonders of the night sky from the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater with the aid of telescopes. A ranger guides the visitors through the sky, pointing out visible planets, stars, and constellations. This is a dazzling experience that's not to be missed.