“The Good Lands” – Badlands, SD

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Our first view of Badlands

Our first view of Badlands

The Badlands of South Dakota are anything but bad. We had one fellow camper tell us they should be called the “Uglylands” but we couldn’t disagree more! We loved it there. What a unique and beautiful part of the country. On our way into the National Park we had to stop at Wall Drug. This place is a kitschy tourist trap with food and fun little souvenirs and strange and funny statues to pose with all around. Definitely worth a stop!

Checking out Wall Drug in Wall, SD - a local landmark

Checking out Wall Drug in Wall, SD – a local landmark

Jackalope! At Wall Drug

Jackalope! At Wall Drug

 

The Badlands basically look like the Grand Canyon turned upside down, weird little hill shapes and mounds with stripes of different colored sediment and strange jagged edges on top of some of the most lovely prairie lands in existence. The first night we were there (at Cedar Lodge campground in the Badlands National Park) we saw a lightning storm like nothing I’ve ever seen before and am not soon likely to forget. It was like sitting in the field of a baseball stadium, with no lights on, but all the fans snapping flashbulb pictures 360 degrees around you. Constant lightning flashed all over the sky through the clouds for the better part of two hours just before midnight. And the thunder! I’d never heard thunder actually CRACK before. Like a whip! What an experience.

The locals at Badlands - mountain goats

The locals at Badlands – mountain goats

We did a couple of hikes while in the Badlands, all very cool. Saddle Pass Trail was intense walking up, a little slippery with the loose gravel, but the view from the very top was worth the hard work! We saw tons of bighorn sheep all over the place, and watched the skies quickly change from sunny with puffy white clouds to dark with big thunderheads. The grasses of the prairies were bright green, and long. The way the wind makes them dance was poetic and mesmerizing. I loved our time here. South Dakota is such a beautiful state. I hope we get to come back someday.

Grazing buffalo

Grazing buffalo

Best dirt road drive ever - Sage Rim Creek Road

Best dirt road drive ever – Sage Rim Creek Road

Looking at the Saddle Ridge hike from the bottom to the top

  • Ruth Sneed

    I just went to your blog for the first time since meeting you at Cedar Pass Campground. I shouldn’t have waited so long. What a wonderful writer you are, and the photos are magnificent! I’m glad Zephyr had a very light case of chickenpox. We have talked about your family often as you were the first campers we got to know at the campground. Bill likes to tell how one of his first duties as campground host was to diagnose a toddler’s chickenpox! We ended up spending a little more than six weeks in the Badlands as campground hosts before continuing on our travels. During that time we met many interesting families from this country and abroad. I share your love of the Badlands and never got tired of the breathtaking scenery. Ruth Sneed

    • zephyrsunrise

      Hi Ruth! I’m so glad you got in touch with us! Happy to hear your time as campground hosts was a success. Where are you now? If you come to Orange County, CA, let us know!