Badlands National Park

We have always loved the Badlands.  It is a serene, wild, vast area.  The geological interest is outrageous and the park has some of the richest fossil beds, including many ancient mammals.  There are several hikes that explore the intricate and interesting beauty of the Badlands.   Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, hats, etc. and plan to hike as much as possible in early morning or evening, if you go in the summer time. 
 

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The visitor's center is excellent.  The interpretive displays are intersting and the fossil lab is AWESOME!  They are constantly uncovering fossils in the Badlands and the lab/center loves to share their findings and information.  As you hike along, there are many scavenger hunts that can be printed from the website.  Kids will love to follow along and may absolutely find fossils!  Should you find a potential fossil, take a picture, record your location and landmarks.  DO NOT REMOVE THE FOSSIL!  LEAVE IT WHERE YOU FOUND IT!  Upon returning to the visitor's center/lab, talk to a ranger.  You can fill out a form and likely a ranger will investigate the finding.  Our kids found what they thought to be a fossil, followed what I described above, and several months later, we received a letter in the mail from the center stating that indeed it was a fossilized, ancient turtle shell!!!!  What a find! 

We have never camped in the park.  The campground always looked too hot to us.  But one of our favoirte, and our kids favorite campground (ever), is the KOA just outside of the park, on the south side.  The grounds have the prettiest cottonwood trees shading most of the campsites.  There is a pool, laundry, food, and it is small enough that you don't feel you are in some big RV park.  https://koa.com/campgrounds/badlands/

How to do this trip  

Park Campgrounds

KOA Campground

Equipment List

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Menu

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Map of Badlands