Badlands National Park

While in South Dakota we visited Badlands National Park.  I have to admit I did not have very high expectations for this park.  I mean after we just spent the past month or two visiting the Tetons, Yellowstone & Glacier, I wasn’t sure anything could measure up.  I am happy to report I was wrong.  The Badlands are amazing!  It was so beautiful and so other-worldly.  I mean it seriously looked like we had landed on another planet.  Hey, that’s not such a bad idea!  If space travel ever becomes a “thing”, we might have to change our names from RoadSchoolers to GalaxySchoolers! 🙂

Anyway back on earth, here we are at the Badlands.


Beautiful hills that remind me of the painted desert in Arizona with wildflowers everywhere.


Oops, a little traffic jam caused by some pronghorn sheep that decided to walk in the middle of the road instead of on the endless miles of prairies off to the side.


This was after they decided to get off the road and let us drive by, thank you very much!


We started our hike at the Door Trail.  This is where it especially felt like or looked like walking on another planet.




Oh no, it seems we have left bear country, but we’re back in the land of rattlesnakes.  Yuck!  I’m not sure which is worse.  At least bears are cuter.


Next was the Window Trail.



And then the Notch Trail which had a fun ladder to climb.



The Notch Trail was my favorite.  Not only was the trail itself really fun with so many cool rocks to climb, but the end of the trail had a really amazing view.



Climbing back down the ladder was a little harder than climbing up, but Jesse makes it look so easy.


Afterward he wanted to sing a song on top of a rock. 😉


The last trail we hiked was the Saddle Pass trail which was a short but steep climb.  You see that pointed peak in the background?  Jesse and I climbed to the top of that!



When we reached the end of the Saddle Pass Trail, Jesse and I wanted to climb to the top of that peak, so there we are — those two little dots almost to the top.


We made it!  Now we look like one little dot at the top.


Climbing back down Saddle Pass was a lot harder than going up.  It’s like trying to walk down a dusty slide.  You might as well just sit on your butt and slide down because that’s basically how you’ll end up going down anyway. 🙂


At the end of the day, we stopped at the Visitor Center so the boys could earn their Junior Ranger badges.


On our way out of the park we passed by one of many prairie dog towns.  They are so cute!


We visited the Badlands in September, and it was a very nice day (about 80ish), but it felt really hot on some of those hikes.  I have heard that in the summer it gets well over 100 there.  So if you plan to visit, keep in mind that the middle of summer is probably not the best time to go.  I think September was great, but even October is probably very nice.

If you have ever traveled down I-90 in South Dakota, you would see many billboards advertising a tourist trap called Wall Drug.  Wall Drug is close to the Badlands so we went there after the park to check it out.  It’s basically just a bunch of shops and some restaurants, and you can buy any kind of SD souvenirs that you can imagine.  There are also lots of fun statues for the kids to play on.




That wraps up the highlights of our time in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Next up — Minnesota!

Categories: National Parks, South Dakota | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Badlands National Park

  1. Your post brings back such great memories! Badlands is one of our favorite underdog NPs, too. The ladder on the Notch Trail looks like so much fun–we’ll definitely have to check out that hike next time we’re in the area. Your comment about sliding down Saddle Pass trail on your bottom made me laugh because that’s totally how we came down, too! I don’t think there’s any way around it, lol. Love Wall Drug–that crazy jackalope cracks me up every time I see it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GalaxySchoolers, lol! Thanks for the tip about when to travel. Looks like a great place to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jusTodd

    We stopped through in July, and the temps were not too bad, hovering the upper 80s. The dry heat helps, that much is certain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s good to know! I always heard it was so hot there in the summer. We want to go back again someday so I’m glad to hear it’s not really that bad. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I should probably qualify that. I just remembered that when we went, they indicated it was a bit cooler than normal (still in the 90s), on top of the fact that I prefer hotter over colder. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a unique and beautiful place! So happy your family had the opportunity to take a road trip through South Dakota. I had a blast traveling through the state three years ago. Happy trails! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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