Established as Badlands National Monument in 1929, Badlands National Park in South Dakota covers nearly 244,000 acres. Badlands is, in part, co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and contains the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.
Badlands National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is open every day except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.
A seven-day entry pass to Badlands National Park costs $15 per private vehicle, $7 per individual on bike or foot and $10 per motorcycle. Annual passes are available for $30.
Summer temperatures in Badlands National Park regularly exceed 100 degrees F. Visitors are cautioned to be aware of the signs of heat-related ailments and drink at least 1 gallon of water per day as a preventative measure.
Hazards posed by cactus spines, prairie rattlesnakes and unstable footing make sturdy, supportive closed-toe footwear a must for travelers in the Badlands National Park.
Pets are permitted, on a leash 6 feet long or shorter, in developed areas of the park. They are prohibited on hiking trails and in public buildings and backcountry areas. Leaving your pet unattended or tied up is also prohibited. Pets may be left in motor vehicles, but the extreme heat poses a severe risk to their safety.
Article Written By Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.