Badlands National Park – Climber’s Delight, Vast Vistas


The National Park Service’s brochure about the Badlands states that you cannot visit the area without being affected. It’s an area of extremes in weather and geology, and people who have lived there – American Indian, French trappers, immigrant farmers – all described it with words that mean “bad lands.”


Badlands consist of a number of landforms – peaks and gullies that display that part of the earth’s past in multi-colored layers of dirt and rocks. There are buttes and prairie land, and, despite the area’s desolate appearance, wildlife such as prairie dogs, ferrets, bison, deer, and antelope can be found – rattlesnakes, too, along with many other birds and animals. (


We parked our car frequently in the Badlands to walk trails and climb rocks. When we reached our destination at the top of a cluster of rocks, what we saw beyond was amazing – more hills, deep valleys, and tons of colors. We thought there couldn’t be anything grander until we climbed up another cluster of rocks, even just a few feet away, but with a very different, equally beautiful view.


The Badlands was a truly wonderful experience. It was great, especially for my friend Shaunna and me, who are adventurous teenagers and self-proclaimed rock-climbing aficionados.
 The rock mounds in this national park were basically miniature mountains, with extremely crumbly walls, which my scraped-up friend instantly found out. If you were able to climb up one of the mounds, you would find a magnificent view of more mounds, hundreds of feet below you.
It was so enticing that I wanted to dive down and soar above the picturesque scene. I would have, too, if it weren’t for my obvious lack of wings and the high percentage that I would plummet to my death.
In other areas of the Badlands, it was more grassy and full of life. I had fun chasing all of the grasshoppers that leapt out to us, causing my friend to shriek in terror, as she is an entomophobic.



Watch for Part Two of this Road Trip soon.


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