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

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Visitor Center Open / Road Construction

    Park roads and parking lots are under construction. Expect occasional 10 - 15 minute road construction delays along Hwy 240 Loop Road. There is limited parking at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Please follow the signs to park in designate areas.

More Frequently Asked Questions

Does the park close?
Not really. All roads are open 24 hours a day, year-round. In the event of extreme winter weather, travel may not be advised on the Highway 240 Badlands Loop Road. In the event of extremely wet weather conditions, the Sage Creek Rim Road (maintained gravel surface) may be closed intermittently.

The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is open year round with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The White River Visitor Center is open seasonally in the summer months. (Operating Hours & Seasons)

What about exploring the South Unit of the park?
We encourage anyone interested in backcountry hiking or camping in the South Unit to notify a ranger at the White River Visitor Center to ensure your safety and that you are not trespassing on private lands. The White River Visitor Center is open seasonally, to contact please call (605) 455-2878. (Exploring the Stronghold District pdf)

Do you have a Junior Ranger Program?
Yes. Kids can complete a Junior Ranger Booklet year-round and earn a badge. (Junior Rangers)

Do you offer Ranger Programs or other special events?
Yes. Ranger programs are offered from late-May through September. See our calendar for more information. Special events, such as the annual Badlands Heritage Festival, are posted to our Calendar of Events.

Are there any digs going on in the park?
The Saber Site fossil quarry will open in June 2012. Visitors can watch paleontologists working at the site from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, 7 days a week. The site is at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.

Are horse rides available?
No. Commercial horse rides are not currently available within the park boundaries. Local business may provide rides adjacent to the park. You can ride your own horse in the park. (Horse Use pdf)

Are there ATV/ORV/4WD trails?
No.

How far is it to Mount Rushmore?
It is approximately 100 miles (or about 2 hours) from the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to Mount Rushmore. If you enter the park at I-90 exit 131, you should travel west on the Highway 240 Badlands Loop Road. You can choose to exit the park at the Pinnacles Entrance and return to I-90 at exit 110. Alternatively, for a more scenic route, you can travel the Sage Creek Rim Road to Highway 44. The Sage Creek Rim Road route would add about 25 miles, or 45 minutes, to your travel time. (Directions)

Did You Know?

Tepee in front of the White River Visitor Center

Badlands National Park established a partnership in 1976 with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, sharing lands, specifically the South Unit, and splitting entrance fees. 50% of the fees collected in the park are transferred to the tribe for resource management and recreation projects.