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Badlands Fast Facts

  • Badlands National Park covers a total area of 244,300 acres
  • The number of people visiting Badlands in 2019 was 970,998 (All Years)
  • Badlands was made a national park on November 10, 1978
  • The lowest elevation found in Badlands is 2,365 feet near the Visitor Center
  • The highest elevation found in Badlands is 3,340 feet at Red Shirt Table
  • The entrance fee for Badlands is $25 per vehicle per week
  • Badlands National Park lies in the Mountain time zone

Random Facts About Badlands

  • The name Badlands comes from the Lakota, who first called it “mako sica”, or “land that is bad”. The lack of water, bizarre topography, and extreme temperatures were the likely reasons. In more modern geologic terms, “badlands” are simply an area of soft rock heavily eroded in an overall dry climate.
  • The Badlands National Park area is known worldwide for its large number of fossil remains found. You can view some of these along the Fossil Nature Trail, but of course any collection of anything in the park, fossils included, is illegal. See Badlands Hiking for more on the trail.
  • Badlands lies in an ecological area known as a mixed-grass prairie, in between tall-grass prairie to the east, and short-grass prairie to the west. The national park protects the largest intact mixed-grass prairie in the United States.
  • The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, governed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe, is both adjacent to and within Badlands National Park. Part of the park (the Stronghold Unit), is managed by the tribe.
  • Bison, commonly known as buffalo, can be seen throughout the park, but especially along the unpaved Sage Creek Rim Road. Prairie dog towns are also a frequent sight.

Where is Badlands National Park?

Badlands National Park is located in the Black Hills region of western South Dakota. While it is in a rather remote area, Interstate 90 provides direct access to the park. For this reason, it is often just a side stop for people traveling I-90, but there is much more to do here. Further directions and maps can be found at Getting to Badlands.

More About Badlands

We have pages on all sorts of things about Badlands National Park. We have sections on Weather, Getting to the Park, Lodging, Camping, Hiking Trails, Road Guides, and pages to buy Books and Trail Maps. You could also check out the park’s Photo Gallery.

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