Many people saw the #badasslands hashtag pop up in their social media newsfeed last week but even though the #badlands have legions of new admirers, quite a few of them still have no idea where they actually are. The hashtag may have started over the climate change controversy but hopefully it will encourage millions of people to make the trek out to soak in the extreme and magical natural wonder that is Badlands National Park.
A long time favorite place for musicians, writers, and artists to explore mind altering experiences and connect with the natural world given its topography and location, miles away from light pollution. Visitor experience can be so out of this world that the Badlands often play other planets on TV, most famously portraying the bug planet in the 90’s cult classic “Starship Troopers”.
Located only 30 miles from my husband’s family ranch Badlands National Park and the surrounding Buffalo Gap Grasslands have become a favorite place to visit on trips home to see the family and always a highlight for our visitors and guests.
You probably have seen the photos of Badlands National Park but no matter how high the resolution no camera can fully capture the magic energy of this sacred destination. So if you are planning on passing through the middle of the country make sure to take Interstate 90 and turn south at Wall South Dakota and prepare to be enchanted by Badlands National Park.
Everywhere you look beauty surrounds you, the landscape looks like it was been painted by a skilled artist. The wall formation stretches 60 miles, revealing sedimentary rock layers exposed by eons and eons of erosion. A number of overlooks show off panoramic views with surrounding grasslands with wildlife a plenty. Hike it, drive it, or walk it but be sure to bring your camera because you are sure to strike Instagram gold when you visit Badlands National Park. You can almost guarantee you will spot a pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, buffalo and you would be hard pressed to not stumble upon a prairie dog.
“An ancient sea floor rises and swallows the rolling plains. Colorful, dramatic and surreal, the sculptured pinnacles and painted gullies preserve the past in layers of colorful sediment.”
After your memory card is full and you are ready to head back to town, be sure to make a pit stop at Wall Drug for a photo with a rare jackalope, a delicious doughnut and a new pair of cowboy boots.
Photos by Casey Phillips