Located just about an hour and a half outside of Chadron, Nebraska, you can experience Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Go for the day, reserve a camping site or stay in a cabin to explore the dramatic landscapes, colors and rock formations that form Badlands National Park.
Badlands National Park is 244,000-acres of mixed-grass prairie that houses a variety of animals from bison to bighorn sheep to black-footed ferrets. It also contains one of the world’s richest fossil beds. It isn’t just natural beauty though, this national park is also rich in history and experiences.
What to Experience
Big Badlands Overlook – Discover panoramic views of the Badlands’ famous geologic formations. This is a wonderful place to watch the sunrise.
Take In the Night Sky – Feel lost in space as you view the dark skies of the national park. Park rangers and astronomy volunteers are available to point out objects in the night sky and assist you to view them from a telescope.
Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead – A half-mile loop below the Badlands Wall that passes through Juniper Forest and provides incredible views.
Drive the South Unit of the Badlands – The South Unit is a beautiful part of Badlands National Park that offers breathtaking sites. The drive is approximately 1-2 hours.
Roberts Prairie Dog Town – Enjoy the perfect view of the largest prairie dog town in the accessible areas of the Badlands National Park. Spend hours watching these cute creatures scurry around as they play and communicate with one another. Be sure to keep your distance, while they are fun to watch, prairie dogs are capable of carrying the plague.
Wildlife in the Badlands
Be on the lookout for a variety of animals while exploring this national park. Take Sage Creek Rim Road to find where the Bison love to spend their days, find Bighorn Sheep while enjoying the Pinnacles Overlook and be on the lookout for animals such as coyotes, snakes and deer throughout the park. Keep in mind, that these animals are wild and can be dangerous if approached.
Staying the Night
Badlands National Park has two official campgrounds to choose from. The Cedar Pass Campground has 96 sites and RV camping with electric hookups and the Sage Creek Campground is first come first serve and has 22 sites. Back-country camping is also allowed anywhere in the park so long as it is at least a half-mile from any road or trail and is not visible from any roadway or trail.
There is one lodge available, Cedar Pass Lodge, that offers cabins for rent.