Badlands National Park
Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. The Badlands Wilderness Area covers 64,000 acres and is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America. The Stronghold Unit is co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and includes sites of 1890s Ghost Dances. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.
The existing road system at Badlands provides a variety of opportunities for the cyclist. You can head out on designated paved, gravel, and dirt roads within the park. However, bikes are not allowed on hiking trails, closed roads, or in the backcountry.
Contact park regarding auto/motorcycle touring oppurtunities.
Open year-round, both campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and rarely fill to capacity. No reservations are required or accepted, except for group camping. Camping is limited to 14-days at both campgrounds. No showers or electrical/water hookups are available in the park.
Cedar Pass Campground
Located near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, the Cedar Pass Campground has 96 level sites with scenic views of the badlands formations. Forever Resorts manages the campground. For additional information contact Cedar Pass Lodge, Badlands Inn and Campground. A limited section of the campground is open during the winter months
Sage Creek Campground
Bison often wander through this primitive campground, located on the west side of the park's North Unit, near the Badlands Wilderness Area. Access is located off of the Sage Creek Rim Road, an unpaved road that may temporarily close after winter storms and spring rains. The road provides limited turnarounds for large recreational vehicles. Camping is free of charge. Pit toilets and covered picnic tables are available, but no water is available on-site. A portion of the Sage Creek Campground is designated for horse use.
Ranger activities include walks, talks, children's activities, and audiovisual programs delve into the uniqueness of the park's resources.
The Night Sky Program is offered Friday through Monday nights, during the summer months, at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater. Join a park ranger for a 40 minute multi-media presentation about the wonders of the beautiful dark night sky. This is followed by a Tour of the Universe. The ranger will point out constellations with a powerful green laser. Immediately following this activity, park rangers and night sky volunteers will share the night sky through state-of-the-art telescopes with visitors of all ages. Everyone is given an opportunity to see impressive objects of the night sky.
Horseback riding is permitted in the park. For those looking to camp and horseback ride, Sage Creek Campground is a designated area for horses. Taking horses on trails is permitted unless posted on the trail. Make sure to check in with the visitor center for trail changes.
Picnicking is encouraged.
Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are two big winter sports.
Badlands National Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Entrance fees are collected year round. The park is located within the Mountain Time Zone. Ben Reifel Visitor Center Hours of Operation: 8 am - 5 pm (April 18 - May 29) 7 am - 7 pm (May 30 - September 11) 8 am - 5 pm (September 12 - October 30) 8 am - 4 pm (October 31 - Spring 2011) CLOSED on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
Badlands National Park Friends Group is a non-profit organization that provides private sector support to assisting the park in special projects. This is a tradition that has been around since the first parks in 1916. There are currently over 160 partner groups with national parks throughout the USA.
Run by Forever Resorts and set in the heartland of the Badlands, the Cedar Pass Lodge offers a relaxing stay for visitors. Other options in the park include the comfortable furnishings at the Badlands Inn and camping at the Cedar Pass Campground for the more adventurous. The Cedar Pass Lodge serves all three meals, seven days a week. For all things gifts, Forever Resorts operates the Cedar Pass Lodge gift shop.(480) 998-7199
I-90 to exit 110 or 131 to access Hwy 240 "Badlands Loop Road". Hwy 44 west from Rapid City provides an alternate scenic route to the park.
Rapid City and Sioux Falls have airports with multiple daily flights.
Some bus tours are available through tour companies in Rapid City and the surrounding area. No other public transportation is available to the park.