Results 11-18of 18 Reviews
January 2, 2005
From journal Badlands Getaway
New Milford, Pennsylvania
August 17, 2004
From journal From PA to SD and back in 7 days!
October 23, 2003
It was late in the afternoon--the best time to go as the sun fires the landscape with a warm glow. Some of the hikes have wooden walkways that make it easy to explore. We continued driving along the Badlands Scenic Loop Highway, and as the sun began to set, we pulled over and hiked a short trail to a lookout point. The rocks and ridges rolled west as far as the eye could see, and the tips of the peaks glowed a bright red as the sun sank below the jagged horizon. It's fascinating to me that a landscape so desolate can be so incredibly beautiful.
Make sure you carry water with you as the visitors centers are the only places with potable water--you can't filter water in the Badlands to make it drinkable.
From journal South Dakota's Black Hills
August 24, 2003
From journal Genealogy Library at Salt Lake City
North Little Rock, Arkansas
August 22, 2003
The Lakota Indians were the first people to thrive in this area - they called the Badlands "mako sica" or "land bad." When bison flourished in and around the Badlands in the mid 1700s, the Lakota used the steep cliffs as "bison jumps," where the animals were stampeded to their death when they ran off the cliffs.
Geological History: About 65 million years ago, the Black Hills began to form, draining a shallow inland sea that had covered the region for15 million years, creating a dome nearly 8,000 feet high. As the dome rose, erosion occurred. Streams became torrents, stripping rock from the hills and carrying the sediments east to the valley where the sea had been. The streams slowed and dropped the hills’ debris. Over millions of years, the valley was filled with sediments up to 1,500 feet thick. About 38 million years ago, the climate of the area changed drastically. Rivers and streams made mud flats and marshes, then filled with sediments to create forests and grasslands.
The erratic routes of the streams, rain, volcanic ash over the years contributed to the patchwork layering that gives the Badlands its distinctive banded appearance today. The layers are mostly mudstone and siltstone, very unstable materials, not really ‘real’ stone. Very little sediment has been added the past million years, so the whole place is falling apart as it is being carried away by the White, Bad and Cheyenne Rivers. It is one of the worlds most rapidly dissolving landscapes. The colorful banded landscape of buttes, canyons, towers and other forms are the result of the carving of the plain by renewed erosion.
You can get to Badlands National Park by exiting Interstate 90 at Highway 240 in southwest South Dakota.
From journal Badlands of South Dakota
February 25, 2002
A Tad of History
Early French trappers who came through this region of bizarre geological formations of fossilized soils from the Oligocene Epoch of some 35 million years ago named it les mauvaises terres á traverser or "bad lands". The Lakota Sioux refer to them as maka seka, which is roughly the same. The name is apt: the region, despite its singular beauty, is tough to live in. It's hot and dry in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter.
What they're like
The Badlands are at their most beautiful during and after one of the wham-bam-thankya-ma'am thunderstorms that blow up in just a couple hours in mid-summer. The sight of their strangely shaped pillars, buttes, and mesas silhouetted against a backdrop of great flashes of lightening accompanied by epic thunder-claps is something you won't soon forget. After the storm is over and the sun comes out, the pinks, mauves, and yellows of those ancient soils come alive, glowing, in the afternoon sun. Of course, if you're there during a storm and are driving, don't even think about going off the tarmac: those soils turn into something rather akin to a gigantic bar of soap - and just as slippery. I know. I've done it. And I've gotten thoroughly stuck in the process! Not fun...
Beyond their natural beauty, the Badlands are the world's greatest storehouse of Oligocene fossils, during which era the region was a sea floor, while dinosaurs and all manner of other later reptiles and mammals are buried in layers above. Many, if not most, of major dinosaur skeletons you see in museums came from this general region.
The Badland Loop leaves I-90 at the tiny town of Cactus Flats, leading down through the park and back up to connect once more with I-90 a few miles out of Wall, I'd recommend a detour down to Sheep's Mountain, or another run south of Kadoka into the eastern portion of the park that most people miss. Only the Loop will be crowded, even in high summer; the rest of the park is almost deserted. Have fun!
When to go
I'd recommend May or September before or after the hordes of summer have departed.
From journal West River South Dakota
by Jim Rosenberg
October 5, 2000
From journal Rapid City: Black Hills-Badlands Road Trip
Fort Worth, Texas
August 11, 2000
From journal Midwestern Roadtrip - Rapid City, SD