The Unexpected Beauty of the Badlands

Home to the world’s richest fossil beds, The Badlands is filled with a sense of unexpected beauty. Where ancient mammals once roamed, you can find a variety of fossils within it’s rugged terrain. Looking at the huge rock beds, is like looking back in time. Each layer and color showing the history of a million years ago. Long ago, water and ice cut into the surface of the earth, splitting open some rocks, wearing them away. In a few million years, the Badlands will be completely gone.

We took the 240 Loop Road, giving us an overall view of the Badlands and it’s different terrains. The visitor center should be your first stop upon your arrival. Here you will be able to learn the different history in it’s exhibits as well as learn about the best trails the park has to offer. I must say, the history section of the visitor center was one of the best I have been to in a National Park. Be sure to stop by it’s Fossil Exhibit Trail. This trail offers a fun and interactive look into the fossils that have been discovered in the Badlands. It is also a super easy, well maintained trail that is only about .02 mi long! Along the Loop Road, there are many pull-off spots that allow you to overlook the diverse landscape of the Badlands.

The Badlands used to be a jungle, but torrential storms flooded the landscape burying the lush jungle and it’s animals in the mud. Fossils of Saber Tooth Cats, Mammoths, and more have been found in the ancient rock formations. Parts of the Badlands are now grasslands making it a home to many mammals that are commonly seen such as Bighorn Sheep, Prairie Dogs, and Buffalo.

We saw a lot of these beautiful animals, both climbing the mountain sides and in the grasslands.
Something I loved about the Badlands was the freedom. You can walk anywhere, you don’t have to stay on the trails. In some areas of the park that may be recommended, but it’s not enforced.

Thank you for reading,

Crystal & Shane

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