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Badlands National Park

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Weather Averages

Days w/

9 mi 15 km of trail 2 Featured Hikes

Gems 2 Gems Easy Trails 7 Trails Intermediate Trails 3 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

Badlands National Park features some of the most unique and rugged landscapes anywhere on earth. This awe-inspiring setting draws people from around the world to visit the park. The fascinating geologic features found in the park contain one of the world's most plentiful fossil beds. Early mammals such as the saber-toothed cat once walked here. The park protects 244,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie where bighorn sheep, bison, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs live today. Whether you are exploring the expansive prairie or taking in the views of the striking geologic features, Badlands is sure to leave a lasting impression.

To learn more about Badlands National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Operating hours for both visitor centers vary by season. The White River Visitor Center is only open in the summer and daily hours vary with staff availability. To see current hours of operation and for more information, visit the park's website.

  • Ben Reifel Visitor Center: Hours vary by season. Closed Thanksgiving, Chrismas Day and New Year's Day.
  • White River Visitor Center: Open summer only from 10 am to 3 pm, as staff is available.

Visiting Tips

Badlands National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Entrance fees are collected at entrance stations throughout the year. The Badlands weather can be unpredictable with temperature extremes ranging from 116° F to -40° F. Visitors are urged to dress in layers and come prepared with hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and adequate water.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

There are two campgrounds within Badlands National Park. Both campgrounds are open year-round, and camping is limited to 14 days. Reservations for Cedar Pass Campground can be made online or by calling (605) 433-5460. For more information about camping in the park, click here.

  • Cedar Pass Campground: 96 sites. Group sites are available.
  • Sage Creek Campground: Available on a first come, first served basis.

Backcountry camping is permitted and while a permit is not currently required, it is recommended that visitors planning on camping in the backcountry contact the Visitor Center for more information and to notify a ranger in order to ensure their safety. More information on backcountry camping can be found here.

For those looking for lodging options with more amenities, Cedar Pass Lodge offers individual cabins and rooms at the Badlands Inn. For more information or to make reservations visit cedarpasslodge.com.

Food & Drink

The Cedar Pass Restaurant and Store located at the Cedar Pass Lodge offers a variety of locally and regionally sourced dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Apart from this restaurant, there are no other dining options located within the park.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Badlands National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs typically from late-May through the end of August. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, stop by the Ben Reifel Visitor Center or click here.

Other Activities

From camping and hiking to bird watching and auto-touring, Badlands National Park offers a variety of ways for visitors to explore the park. Additionally, be sure to check out the opportunities for mountain biking and rock climbing in and around the nearby town of Rapid City. Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park offer a multitude of options for visitors to continue their exploration of South Dakota beyond their trip to Badlands National Park.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Badlands National Park - 2

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gem Favorite Yellow Mounds
Badlands, SD

Yellow Mounds

(18) Kadoka, SD
gem Favorite Badlands National Park - Rim Road Overlook.

Roberts Prairie Dog Town

(9) Philip, SD

Featured Hikes in Badlands National Park - 2

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

Favorite Badlands formations strike awe in the hearts of their visitors.

Sage Creek Wilderness Area Loop

22.2 mi 35.7 km • Loop • 639 ft Ascent 194.73 m Ascent

(23) Kadoka, SD
Favorite View from Saddle Pass. Credit: Familyrambling.com

Badlands: Medicine Root/Castle/Saddle Pass Loop

7.0 mi 11.2 km • Loop • 189 ft Ascent 57.51 m Ascent

(29) Kadoka, SD

Trails in Badlands National Park - 8

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

0.6 mi 1.0 km #1Notch Trail
Kadoka, SD
0.6 mi 1.0 km Kadoka, SD 43 
0.3 mi 0.5 km #2Saddle Pass Trail
Kadoka, SD
0.3 mi 0.5 km Kadoka, SD 20 
5.3 mi 8.5 km #3Castle Trail
Kadoka, SD
5.3 mi 8.5 km Kadoka, SD 15 
0.1 mi 0.2 km #4Door Trail
Kadoka, SD
0.1 mi 0.2 km Kadoka, SD 20 
0.6 mi 0.9 km #5Cliff Shelf Trail
Kadoka, SD
0.6 mi 0.9 km Kadoka, SD 14 
0.1 mi 0.2 km #6Window Trail
Kadoka, SD
0.1 mi 0.2 km Kadoka, SD 15 
2.2 mi 3.5 km #7Medicine Root Loop
Kadoka, SD
2.2 mi 3.5 km Kadoka, SD
0.2 mi 0.3 km #8Fossil Exhibit Trail
Kadoka, SD
0.2 mi 0.3 km Kadoka, SD 13 

Photos of Badlands National Park - 82

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Sunset at Conata Basin Overlook.
Dec 16, 2015 near Kadoka, SD
The layers and textures of the Badlands
Nov 15, 2017 near Kadoka, SD
Badlands Sunset.
Mar 24, 2016 near Kadoka, SD
Badlands National Park.
Mar 24, 2016 near Kadoka, SD
Badlands formations strike awe in the hearts of their visitors.
Jun 4, 2017 near Kadoka, SD
Big Horn in Badlands
Sep 25, 2016 near Kadoka, SD
Grassy path leading into Badlands
Nov 15, 2017 near Kadoka, SD
The endless hills from Red Shirt Table Overlook.
Mar 24, 2016 near Oglala, SD

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