Known around the world for its extensive, natural collection of mammal fossils, Badlands National Park spans a whopping 244,300 acres across the plains of South Dakota and welcomes more than a million travelers every year.
Badlands National Park offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the wonders of nature in the Midwest, as well as rich American history. And best of all, the Badlands are just a short 7 miles South of Wall Drug.
A true emblem of South Dakota beauty, the ridges of the Badlands are breathtaking in a sense most of us don’t experience on a regular basis. Cliffs and ravines formed over thousands of years are paired with a dramatic spectrum of contrast from the deep blue sky against dusty, sun-baked peaks and cool shadows to layers of history in red and amber fossil-rich soils.
Every cut and curve is a result of climatic and environmental changes throughout history. The beauty of the Badlands continues to morph as the formations erode an average of one inch per year. It’s no wonder that behind the picturesque appearance, the Badlands National Park tells a story.
A portion of the Badlands belongs to the Oglala tribe, housing one of the most historical and sacred places in the park – Stronghold Table. Stronghold Table is best known as the site of the final Ghost Dance of 1890, a traditional Native American ritual. This spiritual event took place only weeks before the well-known Wounded Knee battle where more than 150 Lakota were massacred.
Badlands National Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and requires entrance fees based on your vehicle size and classification. The park houses two visitor centers with tourist information, exhibits, Badlands National Park literature and brochures, restrooms, and more.