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Badlands National Park

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Badlands National Park is located in the northern United States in the southwestern corner of the state of South Dakota.  The national park boundaries encompass an area of 379.3 square miles (982.4 sq km).

The Badlands Wilderness is a further designation of an area with the national park.  It covers an area of 100.2 square miles (259.6 sq km).  The table mountain known as Red Shirt Table is the highest elevation in the park reaching a height of 3,340 feet (1,020 m).

The park is renowned for the eroded sandstone rock formations, ravines, canyons, eroded buttes, and pinnacles.  There are many fossils in the area affirming that the region had been underwater at some stage of history.

The black-footed ferret is one of the rarest mammals in the world.  In an effort to develop a stronger population, it was introduced into this wilderness area to try and create a stronghold.  Other neighboring species to this ferret is the black-tailed prairie dog.

Other popular species of the Badlands include bighorn sheep, bison, white-tailed deer, porcupine, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and the white-tailed deer.  Predators of the park include badger, bobcat, coyote, and the swift fox.


The Badlands represents a very colorful picturesque landscape featuring eroded sandstone rock formations.  The rugged ravines, eroded buttes, and towering pinnacles are the highlights of the park.

There is an easy boarded trail that takes visitors to the Windows, which is a short trail leading to a scenic lookout over the Badlands wilderness.  There are longer and more adventurous trails, Door Trail and Notch Trail, that provides visitors with extended treks through the wilderness.  Hiking is the best way to experience the majestic nature of this colorful part of the country.

Badlands National Park Trails

There are a good number of trails for exploring the Badlands of South Dakota.  Below are some of the more popular.

Badlands Highlights

  • Eroded colorful buttes
  • Pinnacles
  • Boardwalk to the Windows



Park Map