Return to Badlands National Park 50 Years Later – A Photo Essay

Back in the 1960’s when I was in my mid-teens, my family took a cross-country western vacation that included stops at many of the scenic and picturesque national parks along the way. Included among those was Badlands National Park, the first stop on our trip.

I remembered all my adult life the fascination I had with the Badlands, and promised myself I would return some day when I was better able to appreciate what I was seeing. It took 50 years, but I made it.

The welcome wasn’t particularly pleasant as we encountered flash flooding and sloppy Badlands mud as detailed here, but when things calmed down I was no less awestruck than I had been as a youth.

My brother Dave and I hiked quite a bit while we were there, but some of the most delightful landscapes were seen while we were simply driving the loop road waiting for things to dry out.

I was especially impressed with the Yellow Mounds area of the park, a chromatic masterpiece of earth and sky. The wildlife was plentiful, particularly bighorn sheep. We even got to see the brand new 2018 lambs as they came out to play in public along the bluffs that parallel the roadway.

There will be other reports about hiking within Badlands National Park, but here I just wanted to share a few photos that will perhaps entice you to include South Dakota whenever you are out exploring. Don’t wait 50 years. Enjoy!



This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.

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