Hike in Toadstool Geologic Park

hard sandstones layer with soft clays to produce buttes with large toadstool rock formations.

Toadstool Geologic Park is a collection of badlands formations found in the Oglala National Grassland of Nebraska. The rock formations found in this park formed 38-24 million years ago and are related to the same rocks found in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. These parks also share many fossil animals, like ancient dogs (hesperocyon), horses (mesohippus), and rhinoceroses (subhyracodon). Many of these fossil animals went extinct and do not have modern analogues, like brontotheres, oreodonts, and entelodonts. Perhaps one of the most exciting preservations in Toadstool Geologic Park is the .75 mile-long trackway that reveals an ancient pursuit: hungry entelodonts chasing two species of rhinoceros down a stream channel.

There are two main trails in Toadstool Geologic Park. A one-mile loop trail leaving from the picnic area shows excellent examples of the hoodoos the park is known for -- and comes with an interpretive brochure for a self-guided tour available at the interpretive kiosk. This one-mile loop trail also accesses the three-mile Bison Trail, which ends at the Hudson Meng Bonebed.

Choose between hiking a 1-mile interpretive loop around Toadstool Geologic Park or a 3-mile hike leading to the Hudson Meng Bone Beds. Either will give you a great glimpse into the ancient history of the park's fossils!
Pets are allowed in Toadstool Geologic Park and should be kept on a six-foot leash.
There is a $3 day use fee to park your car in the campground while hiking. To camp in the campground (no water or electric, open year-round), there is a $15/night fee.
Toadstool Geologic Park is located on Oglala National Grassland in Harrison, Nebraska. 
Accessibility Information
An accessible vault toilet is provided in the campground, but the hiking terrain of Toadstool Geologic Park is not accessible via wheelchair. Roads in Oglala National Grassland require a four-wheel drive vehicle and are not accessible after a rain or snow storm.
a vast landscape of eroded buttes, layered with more resistant sandstone boulders.
The mix of resistant sandstones and soft clays in Toadstool Geologic Park creates mushroom-like rock formations which give the park its name.

NPS Photo / Alex Ennes

Last updated: August 31, 2020