Pets are permitted in Badlands National Park with some restrictions. Pets cannot be left unattended. While visiting the park, pets must be kept on a leash no more than six feet in length at all times. Pets are only allowed in developed areas, such as campgrounds and picnic areas, and other areas open to motor vehicles, such as gravel and paved roadways, roadway corridors, and parking lots. Pet etiquette dictates always cleaning up animal waste and disposing of it in trash receptacles.
Pets are prohibited from hiking trails, public buildings (i.e. visitor centers), and backcountry areas, including the Badlands Wilderness Area and areas with prairie dog colonies. Leaving your animal unattended or tied to a fixed object is prohibited, as well as a danger to your pet.
Keep in mind that summer temperatures can be extreme, often reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even on an 86 degree day, the temperature inside a motor vehicle can quickly reach 134 to 154 degrees.
If your pet needs more room to walk, consider visiting the trails managed by US Forest Service, Buffalo Gap National Grassland, located adjacent to Badlands National Park, where pets are permitted (with some exceptions). For more information contact the Buffalo Gap Visitor Center which is located in Wall at (605) 279-2125.
Service animals are an exception to most pet restrictions and are allowed on trails and in public buildings. Service animals must be kept on a leash at all times and, due to potentially infectious wildlife diseases, are not allowed in areas with prairie dog colonies.
Reasons for Pet Restrictions
The park prohibits pets in the Wilderness area, other backcountry areas, on hiking trails, and in areas closed to motor vehicles for the following reasons: