This park's sharply textured rock formations share a 244,000-acre landscape with the largest protected mixed-grass prairie in the United States.
The buttes, pinnacles and spires that define this region have been eroding for half a million years into their distinctive shapes — and continue to erode at a rate of about an inch per year. The park’s rugged beauty attracts visitors from around the world, and its geologic deposits contain the world’s richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, estimated at 23 to 35 million years old. Badlands National Park is also an excellent place to see the night sky; on any given night, visitors may see up to 7,500 stars and a particularly clear view of the Milky Way.
A Matter of Perspective
Although native Oglala Lakota referred to the remarkable geology in this park as the "Paha ska," or white hills, the more common name today comes from early French trappers who declared the region "mauvaises terres à traverser" — bad lands to travel across.
My husband and I have been visiting National Parks, Monuments, Seashores and Wildlife Reserves since 2003 just after we met. We made a "forever commitment" to each other while enjoying the 360-degree view from the top of Lembert Dome at Yosemite. We were married for real last year and honeymooned…
More about Badlands
Read more about 9 Wildlife Success Stories
Blog Post 9 Wildlife Success Stories National parks provide critical habitat for a variety of animals—in some cases, they are the only places that threatened or endangered species have left to call home. If those species disappear from a part of the country, parks can play an important role in bringing them back. Here are nine animals that have been reintroduced to their native habitats in national parks.
Read more about Wild American Beauty: 10 Wilderness Areas to Explore
Blog Post Wild American Beauty: 10 Wilderness Areas to Explore Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by exploring some of America’s wildest places, from remote windswept tundras to cactus-dotted mountains to serene rock-strewn beaches. Several spots are surprisingly close to major cities.
Read more about 10 Spectacular Parks for Stargazing
Blog Post 10 Spectacular Parks for Stargazing National parks offer some of the darkest skies in the country.
Read more about Polluted Parks: Fact Sheets
Fact Sheet Polluted Parks: Fact Sheets Haze pollution limits views of our most valued national parks and wilderness areas, affecting not just how far we can see, but also the color, sharpness, and quality of the view. It also makes the air unhealthy for people, wildlife and natural resources.
Read more about Lessons in the Tallgrass
Magazine Article Lessons in the Tallgrass A teacher guides high-school students into the wilderness and learns a few valuable lessons herself.