What Is the Badlands National Park?

What Is the Badlands National Park?
The Badlands National Park, which is located in the southwestern portion of South Dakota, is one of America's largest protected prairie environments. Proclaimed a national park in 1978, Badlands National Park is a significant fossil site and one quarter of its land is a designated wilderness area.


The weather that occurs in the park is unpredictable with temperatures that can be as cold as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to as scorching as 116 degrees; thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other severe weather is not uncommon and the average annual precipitation is 16 inches.


The Sage Creek Campgrounds and the Cedar Pass Campgrounds are open all year round and campers can spend as much as two weeks, but there are no water hookups available nor shower facilities.


Campfires are strictly prohibited due to the high risk of wildfires and wood is not allowed to be collected for a fire but certain types of charcoal grills and camp stoves can be employed by campers.


Camping in the backcountry requires neither permit nor fee and is allowed in places that are half a mile from the nearest road; the over 64,000 acre Sage Creek Wilderness is a popular destination for backpackers looking to camp in the open.

Fun Fact

At one time there were only 18 black-footed ferrets left alive in the wild in the entire US but efforts to repopulate the species into Badlands National Park by conservationists have upped the ferret's numbers to as many as 50.

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