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The Badlands

Updated on March 15, 2010

A Wonderful Vacation Destination

A few years ago my family decided to take a trip to The Badlands in South Dakota. It turned out to be one of the most memorable trips we have ever taken. The trip from our house was about 1050 miles and took 2 days to get there. We had already decided that we would camp while there and knew where we would be staying. We researched the campgrounds and reserved the sites so as not to be stuck with no where to go once we got there. My dad is from North Dakota originally so I had been to the Badlands as a child. When we got there, I quickly realized how my memory had dimmed in the years since I had been there.  The magnificent beauty took my breath away. The ooohs and ahhhs coming from the back sit where my kids were was well worth the long and tiring trip.


Your first good look.
Your first good look.

The Badlands National Park

The Badlands National Park is an awesome sight. As you approach the park you can see some of it from outside. And then you drive in and everyone does the same thing. They gasp. As large at the Badlands are, to get the most out of them you must go inside the park. Literally as you round a bend after going in the front gate the badlands come into view. They stretch out as far as the eye can see in varying colors, shapes, and heights. It is a sight to behold. The Badlands National Park website calls what you are seeing, " 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires". A great way to put it, I was sitting here trying to decide the correct terms to what I was seeing. The Badlands National Park also has the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.

My Kids and Myself

Right before a tornado blew in.
Right before a tornado blew in.

An Unusual National Park

What I found the most unusual thing about The Badlands National Park is the public access. In most National and State Parks there are very strict rules as to what you can and can't do. I have been in State and National Parks where just the thing you wanted to see up close or maybe even touch was off limits. There is certainly a reason for these rules but sometimes you just want to see it better. In the Badlands National Park in some areas they had boardwalks that you could access to get on top of a formation or to get closer to it. In many areas as you drove through the park there would be areas where you could pull over to get a better look. Much to my surprise there were no signs saying to stay off the rock. I couldn't believe the people crawling all over the formations. My 2 sons were beside themselves with joy. They were out of the car and running to climb those rocks. Climbing is permitted within the boundaries of The Badlands National Park. There are also many marked hiking trails in varying lengths. Make sure you know how long the trail is and bring along water, hats and first aid kits for your safety. You may also go off trail at your own risk.

My Kids

My kids at least a half mile away ( I used the zoom)
My kids at least a half mile away ( I used the zoom)

My Husband and Kids

Look at that sky!!
Look at that sky!!

A Return Trip and Again

It was one of the most memorable vacations we have ever been on. My kids still talk about it. We went through the Badlands again 4 years later and we were just as awestruck as the first time. The beauty and desolation of the Badlands makes you want to return over and over again. We will return.


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    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks jenny it is a lovely place to visit

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      so cool!i wanna go too!great time seeing your pictures!

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Very cool place to live thanks for reading my hub OHB

    • OHB profile image


      7 years ago from Rapid City

      Badlands is a fantastic place. Being a native of South Dakota and a resident of the Black Hills I've spent some time with a camera in the Badlands.

      Thanks for the article.

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks agusfanani I hope some day you get to visit there it is awesome. Thanks for reading my hub.

    • agusfanani profile image


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      It's a great place to visit, your story makes me have this idea.

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks so much Lynda

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks for your kind comments. I love the Badlands and especially because you can get up close.

    • pddm67 profile image


      8 years ago from Queens, New York

      Sounds like an awesome time! Have never been, but would luv to go. The scenery looks spectactular. Your pics are wonderful! Rock on!

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks so much for your wonderful comments Wavegirl it was a trip to remember.

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      fishtiger58 . .this Hub is fantastic! One of my all time favorite Bruce Springsteen songs is "Badlands" and now I have great images to put in my head the next time I hear that song!!!

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks RedElf, I loved the Badlands, that was my 3rd trip, will be going again as there is so much to see.

    • RedElf profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      This is a great article, and you have some wonderful pictures. It reminds me of Writing On Stone in southern Alberta? The Hoodoos are similar, but access is now (sadly) restricted to the paths. It's worth a look though.

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks Nell maybe someday you can go to the Badlands they are awesome.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Wow, fishtiger, you are so lucky living in America, there are so many awesome places to see. The nearest we came to the badlands type landscape was when we went to tenerife, and went up Mount Teide. It was like walking across Mars, and when you get to the top, there is another 4,000 ft of mountain with a cable car to take you to the top, and then you end up in the volcano! it is not active I hasten to add! anyway, nice hub. cheers Nell


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