Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres in the southwestern region of South Dakota and has such geographical features as prairies and buttes, with the long-term work of erosion on display. Managed by the National Park Service, Badlands National Park attracts tourists from around the country, with the majority visiting during the summer.
Franklin Roosevelt established the Badlands National Monument on Jan. 25, 1939, with Congress adding 130,000 acres previously used for military purposes at the end of the 1960s. On Nov. 10, 1978, the area was officially made a national park.
Hiking is encouraged at Badlands National Park, with the entire park legal to hike in. Potentially dangerous weather conditions and the presence of animals such as the American bison and the prairie rattlesnake need to be consider by hikers.
There are 64,000 acres within Badlands National Park that have been designated as wilderness lands. The black-footed ferret, which was almost made extinct through loss of its habitat, has gained a foothold in the park since being reintroduced there.
At one time, the park was at the bottom of a great sea, and the result is large numbers of fossils have been discovered in this area. Badlands National Park is famous for the preserved bones of a variety of prehistoric mammals that once roamed this part of North America.
The park allows backcountry camping, biking, horseback riding and mountain climbing. Because of the high danger of wildfires, no campfires are allowed.