About Badlands National Park

About Badlands National Park
On November 10, 1978, Badlands National Park was officially designated as a U.S. national park. Its 244,000 acres are in southwest South Dakota, in Jackson and Pennington counties, near the town of Interior.


Visitors to the park need to be prepared for sudden and unexpected changes in weather conditions. Hailstorms, tornadoes and powerful thunderstorms have been known to catch tourists by surprise.

Visitor Center

Close to the entrance of Badlands National Park is the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, which is home to various exhibits, videos about the park, tourist information, restrooms, phones and maps.


The vast prairie grasslands support such mammals such as bison, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs. The black-footed ferret, a terribly endangered species, has been able to repopulate its numbers on a small scale in the park with the help of conservationists.

Climbing and Biking

The large number of rock formations and buttes in the park lend themselves to climbing, but adventurers are warned to watch out for loose rock. While biking is allowed on the roads that traverse the park, it is not permitted anywhere else within its borders.

Backcountry Camping

Camping in the backcountry at Badlands National Park is allowed, but the camp must be no closer than half a mile from the nearest road. The best place to camp this way is in the 64,250 acres belonging to the Sage Creek Wilderness, which can be accessed from the Sage Creek Campground by staying right along the creek.

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