Badlands NP, S. Dakota Offers Views Of Rock Formations

Badlands NP, S. Dakota Offers Views Of Rock Formations

Badlands NP, S. Dakota Offers Views Of Rock Formations. The Badlands National Park provides its visitors dazzling views of beautiful, striking rock-like formations. The buttes, pinnacles, and spires formed by winds and glacial erosion more than 35 million years old enchant the over one million annual visitors to The Badlands National Park. Rainfall, wind, and perpetual freezing and thawing erode approximately one inch of topsoil per year and continue to reveal more ancient mysteries including fossils and ancient artifacts. The Badlands National Park is an ever-changing, wondrous work of natural art

The Badlands National Park was named for the Native American Sioux’s description of the harsh terrain. The Sioux referred to the area as “mako sica,” meaning “land bad.” In 1743, the first white men to cross the terrain were French-Canadian trappers. These trappers referred to the site as “les mauvaises terres a traverser,” which translates in English to “bad lands to travel across.”

The harsh landscape, rough terrain, and scarcity of water all contributed to make the Badlands one of the world’s richest mammal fossil beds. Fossil remains from the Eocene-Oligocene epoch have been found. They are referred to as “The Golden Age of Mammals.” Scientists believe that 33 million years ago, a watering hole was located in the Badlands and that a drought forced mammals to travel long distances to locate water. The soft, sedimentary ground caused many of these creatures to become bogged down. They often perished in the heat before water could be located. Scavengers were drawn to the area to feed on the remains, and often met the same demise. Scientists studying the South Dakota Badlands have discovered the remains of ancient three-toed horses, tiny deer-like creatures, turtles, a saber-toothed cat, and ancient hornless rhinoceroses.

Bison, antelope, big horn sheep, deer, and swift foxes, roam the 244,000 acres of The Badlands National Park.  Thus comprising the largest expanse of protected prairie land in the National Park system.

The Badlands was established as Badlands National Monument on the 4th Of March 1929. It was not until January 25, 1939, that President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the park a National Park. The Park is made up of about 244,000 acres combined with the biggest protected mixed grass steppe in the United States.  Visitors to South Dakota’s Badlands National Park can enjoy hiking on eight trails ranging in length from ¼-mile to 10 miles long, round trip. The Fossil Exhibit Trail is fully accessible, boasting fossil replicas of now extinct animals that once roamed the area.  To plan your trip follow this link to



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