It’s not one of the most popular parks, but I’d go back in a heartbeat. The badlands are beautiful, especially in the fall. My Dad and I were on a cross country road trip in October and this was one of the first National Parks of the trip.
The park is divided into three units – North, South, and Elkhorn Ranch. Elkhorn Ranch is Theodore Roosevelt’s second ranch which he considered his “home ranch” where he had his cattle business. Each of the units has different scenery, with the north being more rugged wilderness while the south has more wildlife sightings.
#1 – Wildlife
There are herds of bison in the park. Since these are my favorite animal, we were on the hunt for bison during the whole scenic drive. We finally saw a few down in the valley at the end of our drive. There’s also wild horses, coyotes, snakes, turkeys, and other wild animals in the park.
#2 – Hiking
There are easy, moderate, and hard hiking trails throughout the park. When my Dad and I visited, we did a few of the shorter trails like Skyline Vista up to Johnson’s Plateau.
#3 – 36 Mile Scenic Drive
This drive takes you through the South Unit over the course of about 90 minutes. There are scenic lookouts along the way and you get great views of the badlands.