Top Things to Do in Badlands National Park
1. Explore the Scenic Loop Drive
Enjoy a breathtaking drive along the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway. This 39-mile road takes you through stunning landscapes, unique rock formations, and offers numerous pull-offs for panoramic views and photo opportunities.
2. Hike the Notch Trail
Embark on an adventure through the dramatic terrain of Badlands National Park by hiking the Notch Trail. This moderately challenging trail leads you through a picturesque canyon, up a log ladder, and rewards you with spectacular views of the park’s iconic formations.
3. Visit the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
Head to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, located near the park’s entrance, to gather information about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife. The center offers exhibits, educational programs, and knowledgeable staff to enhance your overall experience.
4. Attend a Ranger Program
Participate in one of the ranger-led programs available in the park. These informative and engaging activities include guided hikes, fossil talks, stargazing programs, and evening campfire programs that provide a deeper understanding of the park’s natural and cultural resources.
5. Take in the Sunrise or Sunset
Witness the beauty of Badlands National Park at dawn or dusk by capturing a sunrise or sunset. The vibrant colors, silhouetted formations, and the peacefulness of the park during these times make for unforgettable experiences.
6. Spot Wildlife
Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s diverse wildlife. Bighorn sheep, bison, pronghorn, coyotes, and numerous bird species are frequently spotted throughout the park. Bring binoculars and a camera to capture these majestic animals in their natural habitat.
7. Explore the Fossil Exhibit Trail
Immerse yourself in the park’s geological history by walking the Fossil Exhibit Trail. This accessible boardwalk trail allows you to see ancient fossil replicas and learn about the prehistoric mammals that once roamed these lands.
8. Camp under the Stars
Extend your stay in Badlands National Park by camping under the stars. The park offers two campgrounds, Cedar Pass and Sage Creek, where you can enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of the surroundings.
9. Photograph the Wildlife and Landscapes
With its striking rock formations and abundant wildlife, Badlands National Park provides photographers with endless opportunities. Capture the serenity of the park, unique lighting conditions, and the captivating wildlife that roam freely.
10. Experience Night Sky Viewing
Thanks to its remote location and minimal light pollution, Badlands National Park is an excellent destination for stargazing. On clear nights, venture out to witness a dazzling display of stars and constellations that seem to stretch on forever.
Badlands National Park offers a wealth of unforgettable experiences for nature enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and photography enthusiasts alike. From driving the scenic loop to hiking the trails and discovering the park’s rich geological history, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Plan a visit to this unique destination and be prepared to be awed by the beauty and grandeur of Badlands National Park.