Welcome to Badlands National Park

The north unit of the park is easily viewed on a half-day drive for those in a rush, though there are a number of short hiking trails that can get you right out into this earthen wonderland, including the surreal Door Trail near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. The less-accessible south units are in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and see few visitors. Bisecting the two is Hwy 44, which makes a scenic alternative between the Badlands and Rapid City.

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Badlands National Park activities

$189 Cultural & Theme Tours

Badlands Premium Tour

The Lakota gave this land its name, “Mako Sica,” meaning “land bad.” The Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. It is desolation at its truest, where you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization.This land has been so ruthlessly ravaged by wind and water that it has become picturesque. The Badlands are a wonderland of bizarre, colorful spires and pinnacles, massive buttes and deep gorges. Erosion of the Badlands reveals sedimentary layers of different colors: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides) and white (volcanic ash).We pick you up at your hotel at 9am. We first visit the South Unit of the Park; the White River Visitors Center is located just inside the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Center is staffed by Oglala Park Service and National Park Service and includes both Lakota cultural and geographic information about the Badlands. Leaving here we stop for photos and some history about the ghost town of Scenic.From here we proceed to the Badlands village of Interior (pop 90) and stop at the iconic watering hole "Wagon Wheel Bar and Grill" to enjoy some of the local fare .  .  . Buffalo Burgers . . . excellent flavor with less cholesterol and less fat than beef (beef burgers and other food available).  After lunch we journey to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and Information Center. Be prepared to revisit the 50's/60's Cold War, including routine 'duck and cover' drills.   At the North Unit, near the entrance to the park is Cedar Pass were you will have the option to walk the short Window and Door trails.  Then your guide drives the Loop, stopping at several more overlooks on your way to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.  Proceeding on you'll stop for photos and views at many of the overlooks and a stop at the majestic Pinnacles Overlook were we exit the Park. The final stop will be at the Wall Drug Store, a unique tourist attraction that offers shopping for anything you may think of.  It also offers the famous 5-cent coffee and free Ice Water. And here we treat you to some of the best home made ice cream in the west . . . delicious!   We return you to Rapid City about 5:00pm.  It may be a long day but there is sooo much to see!

$182 Cultural & Theme Tours

Badlands National Park Day Tour

After an 8:30am complimentary pick-up at your Rapid City accommodation, your small group tour (12 people max) will leave in the comfort of a Mercedes Sprinter van or luxury SUV. Enjoy a morning coffee and a one-hour drive out to the Badlands National Park. After an included lunch, your tour guide will walk you through the wonders of the park. You will learn about its history, the current wildlife that lives there, and discover amazing life and unimaginable animals that once called this land home. You will have time for stops, short walks, and photographs. Before leaving the park, you visit the Visitors Center and picnic ground to walk through their educational displays.  A 15 minute drive from the park brings you to the Minuteman Missile Visitors Center for a brief stop before you continue onto the National Historic Site (the actual missile site) and re-live America’s Cold War history. Another short drive leads you to Wall Drug to finish the day and find souvenirs and famous fresh donuts. You will be returned to your accommodation around 3:30pm.


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Badlands National Park in detail