On June 5th, 2022 we left our Rapid City airbnb early in the morning and headed toward Badlands National park. We reached Pine Ridge Reservation before realizing we had targeted the wrong entrance. We spent a good part of the day “en route”. Thankfully the drive to the park is so scenic that I was too mesmerized by the views out of my passenger window to worry about how long it took us to reach the park, from green meadows stretching out as far as the eye could see to the coolest rock formations and jagged canyons. I filmed most of the videos uploaded below from the moving car. We spotted prairie dogs, buffalos, deer in addition to many cows unhurriedly grazing the expansive fields. After a quick stop at Ben Reifel visitor center, we drove to the trailhead parking lot which was already pretty crowded.
We hiked Notch Trail stopping by the Window Trail overlook. Notch trail is short (1.5 mile) and moderate due to a steep ladder and unguarded drop offs. The views are spectacular, and the entire hike felt like we had stepped into an alternate reality. Such a unique place!
The area was proposed as a park in 1922. It is believed that the land was inhabited by Lakota Indians who called it bad lands due to its geographical attributes that make it difficult to survive in or traverse especially in the rainy season. The park’s web site states that evidence indicates seasonal hunting inhabitation as opposed to permanent settlement. Its geological formations are millions of years old. You can see the layers of sediments that deposited over the years.
I would love to go back on a nighttime Astro-photography tour. I’m sure it would be a fantastic experience.
Reference Badlands National Park, Badlands National Park Map, Notch Trail, Naming the Badlands, Dept of the interior
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