Badlands National Park, SD

Badlands National Park

If we found the scenery of Theodore Roosevelt National Park stunning, and we did, it was just a warm-up for what we encountered in South Dakota’s Badlands.

Both parks exhibit miles of twisting canyons dimpled with colorfully striated buttes; but whereas Teddy Roosevelt is mostly rounded and weathered, the Badlands remains sharp, jagged . . .

Badlands National Park - Jagged

and serrated.

Badlands National Park - Serrated

Other areas are so forbidding they might be mistaken for lunar landscapes.

Badlands National Park - Lunar

And still others are so colorful they hardly seem real, like the park’s aptly named “Yellow Mounds.”

Badlands National Park - Yellow Mounds

“Surreal” is the only way to describe the feeling of walking out on a narrow peninsula at Burn’s Basin Overlook. The ground falls away on three sides, completely out of visual range. You get the sense of floating over this amazing vista. Shannon and I both felt the same way, and we both agree that it ranks among one of our favorite travel experiences.

Badlands National Park - Burns Basin

Built up over epochs through layers of different sediment and now revealed and carved by erosion, the Badlands continue to change. The park’s buttes erode at a rate of about one inch per year. So fast that in another 500,000 year’s time the Badlands will likely completely disappear.

Badlands National Park - Erosion

Far below a small stream carves a winding path leaving fantastic canyons in its wake.


Fortunately, that is more than enough time for lucky travelers to explore these amazing lands. But why wait?

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27 Comments on “Badlands National Park, SD”

  1. Kristina November 4, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Fascinating!

    Like

  2. customtripplanning November 4, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    And like my experience at Bryce, if you hike down into the land formations, you get to see even more!

    Like

    • Brian November 4, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      So true. We did a fair amount of hiking. Truly awesome place.

      Like

  3. dhphotosite November 4, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Just beautiful!! The Dakotas are 2 states we have not yet visited. In the past my wife and I have often discussed doing exactly what you guys are doing. Hmmmmm I may have to bring it up again!

    Like

    • Brian November 4, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      Wonderful! Inspiring others to get out on the road is a big reason we’re writing this blog. Glad to see we’re having an impact.
      Happy travels,
      Brian

      Like

  4. mariawriter November 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I have just found your blog and think it’s great, so interesting! I haven’t travelled much myself and love reading about other peoples travels.

    Looking forward to reading future posts.

    Maria

    Like

  5. Inge November 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Amazing! 🙂

    Like

  6. hennacornoelidays November 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Awesome photos. Quick question: if you could have drastically reduced your hours and time at work (say, you work 10 months, rarely more than 40 hours a week) would you be a part-time traveler? Or would that just leave you wanting more? We are lucky enough to fit in that first category.

    Like

    • Brian November 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

      That is a good question. I definitely think I would have stuck around longer if I could have cut my hours significantly. My main complaint with my prior career is that it demanded everything. Everything was too much, so it had to go.

      Like

  7. thesweetkitten November 5, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    This I why I like America so much … You have National Parks everywhere, and one is more stunning than the other. Great pictures!

    Like

    • Brian November 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      They are wonderful, varied, and abundant. We’re doing our best to hit most of them. We’ve yet to be disappointed.

      Like

  8. singularjoy November 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Awesome shots!

    Like

  9. f-stop mama November 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    I have always wanted to see the Badlands. Thanks for sharing your photos. It gives me inspiration to plan a trip.

    Like

    • Brian November 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      Awesome! That’s why we’re doing this. Glad to see it is having the intended effect. 🙂

      Like

  10. shane November 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I’ve never had much desire to visit the Dakotas but after looking at these pics I’m going to reconsider. I feel like a fat kid looking at chocolate cake!

    Like

  11. Julie Mundy November 7, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    Incredible photos – reminded me of the Painted Desert National Park whic I was very lucky to visit some years ago – you certainly do spectacular land formations in the States!

    Like

  12. Cheryl November 10, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    I just discovered you blog. Looking forward to reading more. The Badlands are one of my husband’s and my favorite places to visit. We go there every time we are in SD which is our favorite state to visit.

    Like

    • Brian November 10, 2011 at 11:07 am #

      We’re glad you found us. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  13. Cheryl November 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    The Badlands and the Black Hills are my favorite places to visit in the US. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

    Like

  14. Pierotucci November 11, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    Absolutely love it –
    its amazing and mind stopping!

    Thanks for sharing the photos.

    http://www.pierotucci.wordpress.com

    Like

  15. cyberchica702 September 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    I live in the heart of the Black Hills and if you like the outdoors at all, it is a must-visit! God’s hand was busy at work in this area and there is so much natural beauty as well as some really great man-made monuments such as Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial!

    Like

  16. Tracy Nguyen May 13, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    I can’t wait to visit the park next week!

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Badlands, South Dakota […]

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  2. 8 Favorite Destinations, Year 2 | Everywhere Once - April 30, 2012

    […] Badlands, SD […]

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  3. Petrified Forest National Park | Everywhere Once - July 6, 2012

    […] badlands (not to mention a solar eclipse ordered up just for our visit). While not as large as Badlands National Park in South Dakota, we found incredible diversity in this bite-sized park. Our favorite area is […]

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  4. RV No More – The End of an Era | Everywhere Once - January 27, 2014

    […] off Key West; discovered things we never knew existed; climbed the Rocky Mountains; survived the Badlands; drove the Pacific Coast Highway; and made some 241 other stops along the way. Last week, our motor […]

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