Badlands National Park

Badlands Fast Facts

How big is Badlands National Park?

Badlands covers a total area of 244,300 acres or 382 square miles.

How many people visit Badlands National Park?

1,224,226 people visited Badlands in 2021. A table showing all years can be found at Badlands Visitation Stats.

When was Badlands National Park created?

Badlands was made a national park on November 10, 1978.

What are the highest and lowest elevations in Badlands National Park?

Badlands’ lowest point is 2,365 feet near the visitor center. The highest point in Badlands is 3,340 feet at Red Shirt Table.

What time zone is Badlands National Park located in?

Badlands is in the Mountain Time Zone.

How much does it cost to enter Badlands National Park?

$30 per private vehicle per week.

Five Random Facts About Badlands

one 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.

two 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.

three 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.

four 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.

five 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.