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

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

Natural Features & Ecosystems

prairie and badlands

NPS photo by Larry McAfee

The landscape of Badlands National Park is roughly half badlands geologic formations and half mixed-grass prairie ecosystem. The striking scenery of the rugged spires and deep canyons may draw your attention, and the lens of your camera, first. But as you spend more time in this place, the prairie comes alive. Stay awhile and get to know the prairie plants and animals as well as the stark badlands and fossil resources.

Did You Know?

The rich hue of the Yellow Mounds paleosols

The yellow and red layers in the badlands formations are fossilized soils, called paleosols. Fossil root traces, burrows, and animal bones found within the soils provide scientists with evidence of environmental and climatic changes that occurred in the badlands over time.