Place

Prairie Wind Overlook

Prairie grasses extend into the horizon under a blue sky, a boardwalk with two benches a wayside.
Although famous for its geology, the park also preserves the largest mixed-grass prairie in the USA.

NPS Photo / Serena Rosales

Quick Facts

Accessible Sites, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Parking - Bus/RV, Scenic View/Photo Spot

This overlook provides a serene view of the mixed-grass prairie at Badlands National Park. The North American prairie ecosystem is separated into three major components, based on which type of grass dominates the ecology: short-grass prairie, mixed-grass prairie, and tall-grass prairie. The short-grass prairie runs along the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains, where short grasses receive little moisture. The tall-grass prairie ecosystem Badlands hosts the largest preserved mixed-grass prairie in the United States.  Today, the native prairie only retains about 2% of its original range. Invasive plants further threaten what little is left, pushing out native plants virtually unchallenged. Badlands National Park does what it can to manage these invaders with various tactics, including prescribed fires and spraying herbicides.

Last updated: December 15, 2020