Badlands National Park
Whoever thought South Dakota could have such a unique and surreal location… Badlands National Park was one of our major highlights of our road trip. The unusual formations and deserted land is something I’ve never seen before. Someone could easily spend days wandering around the moonscape! Unfortunately, we only had one day to explore and it was raining nonstop but we explored and hiked through the jagged area like pros!
Badlands Loop Road + Overlooks
The road literally runs right through the middle of the park. It has so many overlooks, so get your cameras ready! We tried our best to stop at every one of them but the rain got the best of us. We did stop at most though and I’m so glad we did. Each overlook displayed a different view of the crazy Badlands. Loop Road is the best way to see the Badlands especially if it’s raining!
Hike Notch Trail
Andrew and I are wouldn’t consider ourselves “hikers” but we can definitely take short hikes for some killer views! Notch Trail was exactly what we like… the 1.5 mile path leads your right through formations and up on a ledge for unique views of Badlands National Park!
The only slight challenge is climbing up the ladder but most anyone can do it.
The views at the end are incredible and make it worth any effort. If you are only going to get out for one hike in Badlands National Park, choose Notch Trail.
Search for Wildlife
Although the park looks inhabitable to some, it’s actually home to an assortment of wildlife animals! While driving on the Scenic Loop Rd, we saw a Bighorn Sheep at the top of the Badlands! It’s crazy how these animals can handle such extreme climates throughout the year! Although we saw Prairie Dog colonies, we didn’t see any Prairie Dogs. Definitely try and search for the wildlife while exploring Badlands!
Soak up the Energy at the Yellow Mounds
The geological history of the Badlands is absolutely remarkable. The Yellow Mounds is a particularly interesting and obviously color representation of all that has happened in this area. It’s amazing to see the yellows and reds that signify lakes and jungle periods millions of years ago. This overlook is a must see at Badlands National Park!
Get off the Beaten Path on Saddle Pass Trail
We were a bit nervous at first about taking the rough gravel road near the overlook, but it proved to be fine. It had finally stopped raining so it was the perfect view and photo-op! Andrew and I were in complete awe at the beauty of the pinnacles. Badlands National Park was definitely worth our time!
Wall Drug Store
As you make your way to Badlands National Park, you will see SO many signs for “Wall Drug Store” along Interstate 90 in South Dakota. We probably saw over a 100 signs for probably over a 100 miles. I’m not kidding.. tantalizing travelers with offers of five cent coffee and free ice water, and proclaiming Wall Drug: as seen on Good Morning America; ...as seen in People, ...as seen in Better Homes and Gardens, etc. (As if Wall Drug needs validation from the media.) There are even a few, widely dispersed, hippie-era survivor signs: Have You Dug Wall Drug?
Andrew and I just had to see for ourselves the famous Wall Drug Store. It’s literally the cutest little stop in the Black Hills. Basically Wall Drug is just like a shopping mall in one building with lots of different little shops that are decorated with Wild West cowboys themes - the USA thing in the past. We bought souvenirs and grabbed coffee! It’s definitely a tourist tap featuring a café, ice cream parlor, chapel, and shopping stores! You can't pass through the Black Hills and not stop at Wall Drug!