Adventures at Badlands National Park

Luke Hanna

September 2018 | Edited September 2019
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Badlands National Park has been a desired camping destination for us for a couple of years.

 

This was more of a learning experience than a hard-core backpacking adventure, but considering what we have learned on our visit and since, I can not wait to get back to the badlands.

 

One of the reasons for visiting prior to embarking on a journey into the park is the significance of the park to the nearby Native American communities.

Map data ©2019 Google

Here you can see the location of Badlands National Park within the state of South Dakota

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The Sunset at Badlands National Park

We arrived at the badlands in the evening just before sunset. The timing of our arrival was a fortunate coincidence since the views over the jagged rock formations were stunning.

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Camping Near Badlands National Park

We usually try to stay in a campground for the first night we arrive at a park. This gives us the opportunity to orient ourselves and decide a plan of action for exploring. Campgrounds are limited although we found plenty of space to set up a tent at the Badlands / White River KOA campground. There were a lot of families staying at the campground, and the provided meals for purchase and accessible amenities.

 

Roadside Viewpoints in Badlands National Park

Even for visitors who do not plan on camping at Badlands National Park, the roadside viewpoints are  worth the drive and make for easily accessible adventures for children and families.

 

Saddle Pass Trailhead in Badlands National Park

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We found the Saddle Pass Trailhead off the main road that loops through the park. We hiked over the pass to a trail head leading to a trio of trails winding through the grassy plateau. We scouted parts of Medicine Root Trail but ended up simply finding vantage points to take photographs. Signs indicated that it was rattlesnake country so we were constantly on the lookout.
NPS Badlands hiking trails map

Map from NPS.gov

 

Trail Photo Gallery

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Future Adventures in the Badlands

As I mentioned earlier, we were unable to truly explore the badlands in its entirety, but we have learned a great deal so I will include a few notes here to contribute to future adventures.

Map from nps.gov

 

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