Nature & Science

a rainbow disappears behind the single winding spire of a large butte.
The Badlands hosts a variety of topics related to nature and science.

NPS Photo


Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires surrounded by a mixed-grass prairie ecosystem. The mixed grass prairie is a transitional zone between the tall-grass prairie to the east and the short-grass prairie to the west.

The buttes and spires of the park were formed through the geologic processes of deposition and erosion. The rocks of Badlands National Park were deposited as early as 75 million years ago and began eroding just 500,000 years ago. As erosion continues today, fossils buried in the rock slowly reveal themselves and park paleontologists study them to learn about ancient life in the area.

Amid the prairies and buttes, numerous animals call the park home. There are many forms of wildlife in the Badlands, ranging from bison to butterflies and everything in betweeen.

Read more about nature in Badlands National Park by using the portal below.


Nature & Science Portals

  • a lone bison walks through an open, grassy field with blue cloudy sky above.
    Wildlife Portal

    Learn all about the many animals that live in Badlands National Park!

  • large boulders of rock sit on top of a badlands butte.
    Geology & Paleontology Portal

    Badlands National Park is known for its geology and paleontology. Find out more about these topics here!

  • wispy seed pods dangle off of a central stem of brown grass.
    Prairie Ecology Portal

    The Badlands host an expanse mixed-grass prairie with plenty to explore. Learn about this amazing environment here!

Last updated: July 31, 2020

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Mailing Address:

25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750


605 433-5361

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