Head East

Badlands National Park

Head east to visit 244,000 acres of extreme water and wind erosion. This land has been so ruthlessly ravaged by wind and water that it looks like a picture. The Badlands provide a wonderland of bizarre colorful spires and pinnacles among massive buttes and deep gorges. Erosion in the Badlands reveals sedimentary layers of different colors: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides) and white (volcanic ash). At sunrise and sunset you’ll see intensely beautiful colors and contrasts.

When you drive the 32Badlands00185 mile Badlands Loop Scenic Byway you’ll see spectacular scenery and much of nature’s untouched fundamentals. The park preserves the world’s greatest fossil beds of animals from the Oligocene Epoch of the Age of Mammals. The skeletons of ancient camels, three-toed horses, saber-toothed cats and giant rhinoceros-like creatures are among the many fossilized species found here. Prehistoric bones are still being uncovered by park officials.

Badlands00203                                                                The Badlands

 

WallDrug00054Internationally known Wall Drug Dakota is right across the interstate at the east end of the Badlands. As many billboards tell   you throughout the country, you can stop there for free ice water and 5 cent coffee. Wall Drug is 76,000 square feet of shops, eateries, and opportunities to take unusual pictures. You have a variety of food choices and if you’re a fan of donuts, stop and enjoy one…or a few! They’re delicious and freshly made.

An organized trip isn’t planned but maps will be available and you can form a caravan for about a 150 mile round trip. To learn more about the Badlands, click here to go: www.nps.gov/badl/.