Basic Information

a road winds between badlands formations with a yellow sign on the right that says fallen rocks.
Planning ahead of time can turn a good visit into a great one.

NPS Photo / Alex Ennes


Getting Around

Badlands National Park is located in a rural area of the country where cell service is not always available and GPS directions are not always reliable. Familiarizing yourself with park maps and directions can make navigating the park much easier.

In the North Unit, the two main roads are the Badlands Loop Road and Sage Creek Rim Road. The South Unit has no roads that go directly through the park, but visitors can drive up Sheep Mountain Table or opt for a scenic drive around the South Unit.

Getting out of the car on your visit can also pose some challenges! Whether you're hiking, biking, or exploring the Badlands another way, it is important to follow safety guidelines. Review these guidelines on the safety page to know before you go. In an emergency, call 911.

The Badlands were named by the Lakota for their rough and unforgiving terrain -- but today, the park is proud to offer many accessible trails and overlooks so that everyone can experience the beauty of the Badlands. In addition to trails and overlooks, information about accessible programs, virtual visits, and audio descriptions can be found on the accessibility page.

Bringing Others Along

Exploring the Badlands is more fun with friends and family. If you're bringing children with you, there is plenty of fun waiting for them in the park. Check out things to do with kids before you come to plan for your family visit. Many of these activities can be done before coming to the park as a sneak-preview or after as a fun way to review what you saw and learned.

Bringing a four-legged friend? Pets are permitted in Badlands National Park with some restrictions. Pets must be kept on a leash no more than six feet in length at all times. Pets are only permitted 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. 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. Pet etiquette dictates always cleaning up animal waste and disposing of it in trash receptacles. Although pets are prohibited on trails, there are still opportunities to explore great views with them on Badlands backroads.

Weather in the Badlands

Badlands weather is variable and unpredictable. Extremes range from 116° F to -40° F, with hot and dry summers. Checking the weather page can give you an overall idea of what the weather may look like on your visit, but checking in on the local weather forecast as your trip approaches is a great way to be prepared. According to the weather, pack appropriately -- depending on the forecast, you could need items like sunscreen, hats, rain jackets, waterproof boots, warm winter jackets, or snowpants!

Stay Updated

Get online to stay informated before, during, and after your visit! Current conditions and alerts are posted as banners on the park website and can keep you updated on current closures, restrictions, or emergencies in the park. You can also use social media to get the latest information on park conditions -- and have a little fun while you're at it! Follow us @BadlandsNPS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Last updated: April 23, 2021

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25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750


605 433-5361

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