Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Planning Your Visit

PLAN YOUR VISIT

The park's main visitor center, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, is open daily all year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. During the summer months, ranger-led programs are offered throughout the day. Check at the visitor center for more information on these programs.

The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is located at Cedar Pass on the Badlands Loop Road (Hwy 240), 9 miles South of I-90, exit 131. This recently rehabilitated visitor center contains exhibits featuring geology, paleontology, park wildlife, and resource management. The 20-minute park movie, Land of Stone and Light, is shown throughout the day. Stop at the visitor center for information, restrooms, exhibits, and the park's movie.

In the South Unit, the White River Visitor Center is open during the summer months and offers information, restrooms, and cultural exhibits.

The park is open all year. There are numerous pullouts and viewpoints along the park's Loop Road where visitors can enjoy the scenery and native plants and wildlife of the mixed-grass prairie ecosystem.

Things To Do

During the summer season, visitors can enjoy a diversity of ranger-guided programs that appeal to those with varying interests and abilities. Walks, talks, children's activities, and audiovisual programs delve into the uniqueness of the park's resources.

Programs are scheduled throughout the day at various locations within the park. Feel free to search the 'Schedule of Events' for programs of interest.

Operating Hours & Seasons

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

CLOSED on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

Located at park headquarters, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center reopened in 2006 with new exhibits, a 95-seat, air conditioned theater, a new film, Land of Stone and Light, and improved classroom and restroom facilities.

The Badlands Natural History Association operates a bookstore in the visitor center. Postcards, books, videos, posters, and other educational materials about the park and its resources are available for purchase.

The dining room closes 30-minutes before the gift shop.

White River Visitor Center

Fees & Reservations

Badlands National Park is a designated Federal Recreation Fee Area. Fees collected directly benefit the park and the National Park Service. Under the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80% of the fees remain in the park for use on approved projects. The remaining 20% funds projects in other National Park Service sites.

Fee projects at Badlands National Park have included:

  • Support for the bighorn sheep and black-footed ferret reintroduction projects, prairie restoration, a modern fire station for structural and wildland fire teams, fencing crews, and modernization of the bison corrals
  • Exhibits in the recently rehabilitated Ben Reifel Visitor Center, the new park movie, a new museum storage facility that houses park collections, and support for the Badlands in Your Classroom education outreach program
  • Installation of vault toilets at the Door/Window Trail, Fossil Exhibit Trail, and Pinnacles Overlook
  • Replacement of the ladder on the Notch Trail
  • Upgraded comfort stations in the Cedar Pass Campground

ENTRANCE FEES

Private, non-commercial vehicle
$15 - Valid for 7 days

Individual - hike, bicycle
$7 - Valid for 7 days

Motorcycle
$10 - Valid for 7 days

Badlands National Park Annual Pass
$30 - Valid for one year from month of purchase

Details
Admits the purchaser and their passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle or the passholder and their companions when entry is by other means (i.e. foot, bicycle). Nontransferable, nonrefundable, and does not cover camping fees.

Organized, non-commercial groups (i.e. service organizations, scouts, church groups, and college/school clubs)
$7 per person - Valid for 7 days

COMMERCIAL TOUR FEES

Commercial sedan, 1 to 6 passenger capacity
$25 plus $7 per person - 7 days for Original Manifest

Commercial van, 7 to 15 passenger capacity
$50 - 7 days for Original Manifest

Minibus, 16 to 25 passenger capacity
$60 - 7 days for Original Manifest

Motorcoach, 26 or more passenger capacity
$150 - 7 days for Original Manifest

INTERAGENCY PASS PROGRAM
The following passes are available at Badlands National Park:

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass - Annual Pass
$80 - Valid for one year from month of purchase

Details
This nontransferable annual pass covers the entrance or standard amenity fees at sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It does not cover camping fees, parking fees, user fees (i.e. cave tours), concession activities, or cooperating association bookstore charges.

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass - Senior Pass
$10 - Valid for holder's lifetime

Details
One time charge for citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are 62 years or older. This nontransferable pass allows lifetime entrance to all National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife areas. It also entitles the bearer to a 50% discount on camping fees in many federal campgrounds. It cannot be used at concession facilities or cooperating association bookstores. Identification must be provided at the time of purchase.

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass - Access Pass
Free - Valid for holder's lifetime

Details
This nontransferable pass allows lifetime entrance to all National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife areas to United States citizens or permanent residents who are blind or permanently disabled. It also entitles the bearer to a 50% discount on camping fees in many federal campgrounds. It cannot be used at concession facilities or cooperating association bookstores.

EDUCATIONAL FEE WAIVERS
Details
Entrance fee waivers are available to academic institutions when the main purpose of their visit is educational rather than recreational. Feel free to complete and submit an Application for Waiver of Fees, if your group meets the eligibility criteria. For further information on fee waivers or eligibility criteria, feel free to contact the Revenue and Fee Business Program Manager.

Directions

Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota and can be easily accessed by car. Plane or bus service is available to Rapid City, South Dakota, located approximately 80 miles west of the park.

By Car
Interstate 90 (I-90) is located directly north of the park and provides access to the Badlands Loop Road. For those traveling west on I-90, take Exit 131 (Interior) and follow the signs directing vehicles south approximately three miles to the Northeast Entrance gate. For those traveling east on I-90, take Exit 110 at Wall, South Dakota. Follow signs directing vehicles south approximately seven miles to the Pinnacles Entrance of the park.

State Highway 44 provides an alternate, scenic access to the park and intersects Highway 377 in the town of Interior. Follow 377 two miles north to the Interior Entrance gate.

By Plane
Daily flights are available to the Rapid City Regional Airport and car rental services are available onsite. The airport is located approximately one hour west of the park, off of Highway 44.

By Bus
Greyhound Lines, Inc. has limited bus service to Rapid City. Car rental companies are available in Rapid City with delivery and pickup services.

Some bus tours are available through tour companies in Rapid City and the surrounding area.

By Public Transportation
No public transportation is available to the park.

Getting Around
A typical visit lasts three to five hours and includes the park movie, stops at four overlooks, and two walks. The Badlands Loop Road, accessed from Interstate 90, is a two-lane, paved surface. The Sage Creek Rim Road is gravel and may be impassable after heavy rains or snows. Five trails, varying from 1/4-mile to eight miles in length, explore park features. The remainder of the park is open to exploration using a topographic map and a compass.