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

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

Flowering Plants

Despite the harshness of the badlands terrain, a diversity of colorful flowers, especially during years of sufficient rainfall, peek through the wavering grasses of the mixed-grass prairie. Planning a trip to the park from May through June increases the likelihood of viewing patches of flowers within the grasses, along trails, and clinging to the banks of washes. Badlands National Park contains one of the largest contiguous native mixed-grass prairies under federal protection in the United States.

 

Did You Know?

Sandstone caprock balanced atop eroding sediments, an example of a toadstool or hoodoo

The badlands are some of the fastest eroding landscapes on earth with erosion rates averaging 1” per year in their fragile layers. However, in areas where sandstone is found, the erosion rate may be 1” in 500 years. Often, toadstools form when surrounding sediments erode beneath a sandstone caprock.