Badlands: South Dakota

Badlands National Park is the most impressive and wildest park I have seen to date. I hope to further explore the landscape and observe the wildlife from a safe distance on a next lengthier visit.


Badlands National Park
Open year-round except for weather closures
Entrance Fees
Private: Non-Commercial Vehicle; $20 – Valid for 7 days
Individual – hike, bicycle; $10 – Valid for 7 days Motorcycle; $10 – Valid for 7 days Badlands National Park Annual Pass; $40 – Valid for one year from month of purchase
Imlay Township, SD 57790 [map]

Badlands National Park is a national park in southwestern South Dakota that protects 242,756 acres (379.306 sq mi; 98,240 ha) of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. For some reason, I have always associated Badlands with the Chelsea Wolfe track, Flatlands. It’s a wild guess, but I am pretty sure this national park in all its rugged glory with its layered rock formations and bighorn sheep will impress one of my favorite doom metal musicians. We were driving for quite some time before arriving at this park November 10th of 2015. In our excitement, we jumped out of our heavily graffitied van and marveled at the truly mesmerizing views in front of us. It was pretty crushing when we realized we left our key inside the van. Luckily for us, a few other kind souls visiting the park must have told a park ranger who went ahead and saved the day for us. The ranger turned out to be from Seattle, our final destination and planned new city of residence at the time.

badlands national park

We’d seen parts of Mt. Zion, we’ve visited the heavily crowded Grand Canyon and the vastly empty Anza Borrego, yet we weren’t quite prepared for the beauty that presented itself to us. Mordor came to mind as we walked from one rock formation to another. We wished to walk longer, but an old Dodge van packed to the gills with life’s detritus from New York meant we had trouble locating our warmer coats.


We drove around and just took as many photos as we could knowing that we weren’t fully experiencing what the park had to offer.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park Badlands National Park Badlands National Park Badlands National Park Badlands National Park Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park

Don’t these photos just make you melt? My partner was crazy enough to get up close to these bighorned sheep until one of them came closer and intimidated him to the point of making him sprint towards the van for safety.  Oh, the things we do for documenting wildlife.

I really hope to make it to this year’s Astronomy Festival. It will be fun to see the stars, and geek out over nature with fellow adventurers.

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