Located in South Dakota, Badlands National Park features layered rock formations and dramatic landscapes. It also includes several trails that wind through scenic lookouts and prairie. Depending on your interest, you can explore the park by hiking, biking, or driving.
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Panorama point is one of the most spectacular viewpoints in Badlands National Park. It provides an impressive view of the White River Valley’s jagged rock formations and an expansive panorama. This area is located about 10 miles north of the Interior Entrance.
The Badlands has a rich history, from dinosaur fossils to geologic marvels. These unique landscapes result from the eroding action of water and wind. As a result, they are home to some of the richest fossil beds in the world.
Not only is the Badlands a great place to go sightseeing, but it is also an exciting place to explore the backcountry. Several short hiking trails allow visitors to see the park from a different angle.
Another way to enjoy the natural wonders of the Badlands is to visit one of the several front country campgrounds. A variety of activities are offered, including telescopes and night sky viewings.
Notch Trail is one of the best hikes in Badlands National Park. It is a short trail that stretches along a cliff. The result is a spectacular view.
The best time to visit this park is during the shoulder seasons when it isn’t as busy. You can expect to see a variety of wild animals, including bison.
The Notch Trail has several unique features. For instance, you can see the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail from the trailhead.
The Notch Trail is also home to an exciting log ladder. Unlike a traditional ladder, this one is hung from cables. There are 50 rungs to climb, and you must be an excellent hiker to make it up.
The Notch Trail has many other exciting sights to see. Among them is a 100-foot drop-off the cliff side of the trail.
The black-footed ferret is an endangered mammal, primarily living in the prairies of the Great Plains. It is the only land mammal in North America that is not a bird, and its population is declining.
In the mid-1980s, black-footed ferrets were believed to be extinct in the wild. Their habitat was decimated by the conversion of the prairies to agricultural lands. A disease called distemper killed most of the wild population. Fortunately, a captive breeding program has been developed that is helping to rebuild the species.
Black-footed ferrets are nocturnal. They live in burrows dug by the prairie dogs they eat. These animals are a staple part of their diet. Only during the breeding season do they remain alone.
The black-footed ferret has a long, slender body and a broad forehead. It has light brown fur with black legs and a black raccoon-like mask.
Lakota Ghost Dancers gathered in the South Dakota Badlands Stronghold region in 1890, but not all were willing to take up the religious practice. They did, however, make a heroic stand.
The Ghost Dance was a ritual to bring back the buffalo. But, at the same time, it was a dance aimed at reclaiming all of the lands of the Indians. It was a dance that allowed the Indians to see the bones of white men who helped them survive.
Some historians believe that the Ghost Dance positively impacted the people of the Plains. It helped restore their way of life, but not all were part of the religious ritual.
Homesteading in the Badlands
Homesteading in the Badlands National Park has been around for many years. Several Native American groups have inhabited this area for as long as 11,000 years.
The Arikara were one of the first tribes to live in this area. They lived in secluded valleys, enjoying hunting and fresh water. In the nineteenth century, people homesteaded in this region.
The Lakota people also occupied the region. These people had friendly relations with whites. After becoming United States citizens, they gained homestead rights.
In the 1880s, the United States stripped the Native American people of most of their territory. This led to conflicts between the Lakota and other tribes. Some of the tribes were eventually moved to reservations. Others were still living in the Badlands.