Morning coffee break. Celebrate that you’ve made it to mid-week!
Driving through Badlands National Park in South Dakota is one of the highlights of many Great American road trips. Summertime on I-90 wouldn’t be complete without a journey through the more than 244,000 acres of grassy prairies and rock formations. The Badlands have been a place of gathering for thousands of years and continue to be a place of gathering for families, hikers, and national park chasers worldwide. Here is a day till dusk look at The Badlands through some of our favorite photos from trips in 2013 and 2014:
A drive along the winding Highway 240 is the most common way visitor’s view the park. Visitors can start from I-90 near Wall, South Dakota and drive East towards the visitor’s center, or can enter the park on the East side heading towards Interior, South Dakota and drive Highway 240 west. Both offer stunning views and the chance to spot wildlife throughout the park.
The Badlands were formed by deposition and erosion. Nearly 70 million years ago the area was covered in a great sea which deposited the minerals and sediments on what is now the great plains. Roughly a half million years ago, erosion began to wear away at the Badlands area, forming the intricate buttes and stands around the park.
The Badlands are home to many mammal species including Bighorn sheep, Pronghorn, Bobcat, and the famous South Dakota prairie dog. The nocturnal black-footed ferret which was once nearly extinct has had a successful recovery in part by the work of rangers and naturalists in Badlands National Park.
Badlands National Park has some of the clearest night skies in the Midwest. The long distance away from any light pollution and the warm summer nights make for excellent star gazing. Friday through Monday nights at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater include a Night Sky Program with impressive views of the Milky Way. It’s one of the best ranger-led night sky programs in the National Park Service and highly recommended.