Badlands National Park is in South Dakota. Its dramatic landscapes span layered rock formations, steep canyons and towering spires. Bison, bighorn sheep
Badlands National Park is a highly underrated park in the United States.
The colorful buttes, spires, and pinnacles create one of the most photogenic landscapes in the country.
Badlands officially became a national park on November 10, 1978. In 2021, it received 1.2 million visitors, making it the 22nd most visited national park that year.
If you do one thing in Badlands National Park, it should be a drive along Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240).
This is one of the most visited overlooks in the park and absolutely worth the visit, at least one time during the day. We were here at sunrise, midday, and sunset and it changes dramatically depending on the lighting. Below I have a photo from each of these different times.
This is not an official overlook but we really liked it. As you approach the Yellow Mound Overlook (the next overlook on our list), you will drive through vibrantly colored yellow hills.
This overlook gives you a view of the yellow hills of the Badlands.
This overlook gives you a view back towards the Yellow Mounds and more multi-colored layers of the Badlands.
Walk on a short boardwalk trail to this stunning viewpoint. It’s beautiful during the day and gorgeous at sunset.
This overlook is one of Tim’s favorites. You can walk short trails further out into the Badlands for an even better view. Just beware! Don’t get near the edge…the ground can be slippery and the cliffs are fragile and can give way under your feet.
In my opinion, this is the best overlook in the park (Pinnacles is #2). From the overlook, you gaze out at over an enormous section of zebra-striped hills. The view is jaw-dropping and this is a magical place at sunrise.
Badlands Loop Road runs from the Northeast Entrance Station to Sage Creek Road. If you drove this road without stopping, it would take about an hour and fifteen minutes, one-way. Once you add on overlooks and a few, short walks/hikes, this drive can take half to a full day, depending on what you choose to do.