Badlands National Park 2020

Since our Scotland trip had to be canceled for our 5th anniversary trip, we decided to go on a road trip instead!

While we were heartbroken to cancel our original plans, we were able to have a relaxing time out in South Dakota. Zach planned an epic road trip in the middle of the pandemic, and it was far more wonderful than we expected. If you have a the time, add Badlands National Park to your list of “Must See Places”!

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We were able to camp in the park for 4 days/3 nights. Since we went during peak pandemic, there weren’t many people which made the Badlands all the more surreal.

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Arriving from the Northwest, visitors have to drive through the Prairie portion before seeing the rock formations. Seeing them pop up out of the grasses was mesmerizing.

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Much of the park is just one continuous road, with the option of backpacking in off the road. We opted for staying on the road and trying smaller trails during our stay as we wanted a more relaxed experience. Chelsea even had time to watercolor one afternoon.

The rock formations were other worldly, and we enjoyed spending time in a different ecosystem than what we are typically used to.

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We did enjoy the Notch Trail which took us into the rocks and up a ladder. We were able to climb on some of the formations to reach the overlook.

The overlook or, “The Notch”

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There were plenty of animals during our visit! Since we went in June, there were baby animals as well! We saw so many prairie dogs, sheep, and bison! There were also quite a few birds in the grassy areas.

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The campsite was incredibly flat, which made the wind very intense! We really appreciated the wind shelters that the park has. Be sure to pack some extra stakes when camping here!

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This view point is right across the road from the vast prairie on the other side. As erosion occurs, the rock formations seem to move across the landscape.

The prairie grasses in this area come from the original plains plants. It was an incredible experience to see the flat, vast prairie. It was far more beautiful than we expected.

We couldn’t get over how flat it all seemed!

The sunset was long, and incredible. There were so many pinks and purples, perfectly changing to dark blues. The sunsets alone are worth a drive out of the way.

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Our trip was unexpected, and a bit nerve-wracking, but it ended up being a wonderful time to sit and breathe. We needed some time away and South Dakota offered plenty of open space and relaxation.

Author: Chelsea Yell

I write for fun and to keep up with memories I make with others.

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