Badlands National Park

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In 2009, we drove across South Dakota to the Badlands. Badlands National Park is known for its eroded rock formations and protects the largest remaining grassland prairies in the United States.

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Native Americans used the Badlands as their hunting grounds. The Lakota, because of the extreme temperatures and rough terrain, called it ‘makho sica’ which translates the ‘land bad.’

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We rolled into the area at night and stayed at the Circle View Guest Ranch. Circle View is a B&B on the top of a butte. It is 6 miles outside the National Park.

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In the morning, the kids helped the owners collect the fresh eggs outside. After a hearty breakfast, we were on our way to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.  There we listened to a ranger’s fossil talk and picked up our junior ranger booklets.

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From the visitor center, we headed to the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail. This is a half-mile loop following boardwalks and stairs through a juniper forest atop the Badlands Wall.

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Then we drove the park road, stopping at various trail-heads. There are a few short walks from the road to points of interest, such as the Door and Window trails with views into the canyon.

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Location: 25216 SD-240, Interior, SD 57750

Designation: National Reserve, State Park, NRHP

Date designated or established: 1/29/1939

Date of my visit: 1/31/2016

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