• Badlands formations against the blue sky; photo by Rikk Flohr


    National Park South Dakota

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  • Visitor Center Open / Road Construction

    The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is open daily from 8 am to 7 pm. The front parking lot is under construction. Please follow the signs, park in the side lot, and use the side doors. Expect 10 - 15 minute road construction delays along Hwy 240 Loop Road.

Park Fun

Rugged rock formations

Geology and You

You might think you have stepped into another world when you first see the Badlands. Water carves rocks into bizarre and wild looking shapes, using erosion as a sculpting tool. Learn more about how Badlands' amazing rocks formed in the Pinnacles Post (583 KB PDF) or explore the Badlands Virtual Experience through this strange world.

Take the Geology Challenge (332KB PDF)! Print this scavenger hunt and bring it with you when you visit the park. See how many formations you can find on your adventures through the Badlands. Do you want to understand more about these pictures? Easy! Check out our Geologic Formations or stop and talk to a ranger at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.

Paleontologist excavating a Badlands fossil

Paleontologists excavate and study fossils in the Badlands.

Fossil Hunters

Paleontologists are like detectives. They use fossils as clues to solve puzzles about how plants and animals lived in the Badlands millions of years ago. Test your skill at solving puzzles! Try these: Fossil Fun (484 KB PDF) and Fossil Find (207 KB PDF). After you complete the puzzles, check your work against the solutions.

Fossil Fun Solutions (496 KB PDF)

Fossil Find Solutions (239 KB PDF)

Make an Armored Mud Ball activity page

More Activities to Try at Home

There are endless things to explore at Badlands National Park. Try these activities to learn more and test your Badlands knowledge!

Colors of the Seasons (210 KB PDF)

Animal Tracks (231 KB PDF)

Make an Armored Mud Ball (131 KB PDF)

Wilderness Experience (49 KB PDF)

Connect the Constellation (187 KB PDF)

At Home in the Badlands (595 KB PDF)

Badlands Mythology (156 KB PDF)

Did You Know?

Bison herd in the Badlands Wilderness Area

25% of Badlands National Park is a designated wilderness area. Established in 1976, the Badlands Wilderness Area consists of 64,144 acres of the largest prairie wilderness in the United States. Administered in two units, Sage Creek and Conata Basin, the area is open for backpacking and exploration.