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Badlands National Park

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About Badlands National Park

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Badlands National Park

Mountains at Badlands National Park

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Badlands National Park

Mountains at Sunrise at Badlands National Park

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Badlands National Park

Mountains with Rabbit at Badlands National Park

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So stark and forbidding are the chiseled spires, ragged ridgelines, and deep ravines of South Dakota's badlands that Lieutenant Colonel George Custer once described them as "hell with the fires burned out." Although a bit more accessible than the depths of the underworld, the landscape is easily the strangest in the Great Plains. Ruthlessly ravaged over the ages by wind and rain, the 380 square miles of wild terrain continue to erode and evolve, sometimes visibly changing shape in a few days. Prairie creatures thrive on the untamed territory, and animal fossils are in abundance.

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Place
The Rugged South
The Rugged South

For unpaved adventure and spectacular views, head for the South Unit. Your GPS may well fail, so bring a good map for the bumpy dirt roads.

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Image Credit

Radius Images / Alamy

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Sleep Under the Stars
Sleep Under the Stars

For a real outdoor experience, spend a night at Sage Creek Campground. Naturalists offer tours of the night skies, and some bison may show up.

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Image Credit

Carol Polich Photo Workshops/Getty images

Place
Follow the Signs
Follow the Signs

You’ll see signs all over advertising Wall Drug Store in Wall, Kansas. It may be a tourist trap, but it also offers 76,000 square feet of family fun.

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Image Credit

Connie Ricca/CORBIS

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Relive the Cold War
Relive the Cold War

At the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, visit the launch control center and walk through a missile field that was on alert for 30 years.

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Image Credit

Blend Images / Alamy

Place
Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0

Windows Overlook is the starting point for three short hikes offering beautiful views of the Badlands Wall. Two are paved; a third is more demanding.

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Badlands National Park

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