Badlands National Park should be on everyones list if they are anywhere near South Dakota. This beautiful landscape carved by an ancient sea seems otherworldly as you explore the beautiful hills and valleys. Due to the soaring temperatures and hot sun we weren’t able to hike (by choice). It was 104 degrees when we drove it and it was hard enough to set up camp in the hot sun never mind hike. We opted to drive the Badlands Loop Road instead which offered incredible views and short little hikes that were more our speed for the day. Badlands is beautiful in the afternoon but truly comes alive during sunrise and sunset. Due to some summer thunderstorms our sunset was a bit gray and underwhelming but our sunrise was EPIC and you can head over and check out all of that goodness by CLICKING HERE. We also opted not to loop and just drive to the end of the park and back because lets be real both directions offer something a bit different! Our favorite spot on the road was the Yellow Mounds which were just stunning as the sun began to set and an array of candy like colors began to emerge. Also keep an eye out for prairie dogs because they are PRECIOUS but disappear as soon as to you get out of your car so just creep out the window for the best view. Make sure to read to the end to check out some Black Hills recommendations.
Images shot with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 24-70mm & Canon 70-200mm lenses
Stay at Badlands National Park Campground $10 a night with a National Parks Pass or opt for a true camping experience and check out Sage Creek Campground which is free but has no water so stock up! On your way to or from Badlands depending on your route make sure to check out Wall Drug, trust us you can’t miss it, there is also 5 cent coffee y’all, and when you are car camping there is nothing better.
If you have a single day at Badlands make sure to take a drive capitalizing on the sunset on the western side of the park, spend the evening and wake up early to experience sunrise and be on your way.