The Badlands National Park near Mount Rushmore, SD
The Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota is a picturesque land of sharp ridges, canyons, gullies, pyramids, and knobs that stretch as far as the eye can see.
This great landscape used to be a flourishing forest which has since been whittled away through years and years of nature's harsh weathering process to the point that it has become an unusually beautiful sight.
This area contains one of the world's richest deposits of fossils from the Oligocene Epoch of the Animals; still today prehistoric bones are being discovered by park officials. You can even take a picnic down to the Conata Basin Picnic Area and watch workers uncover the bones of 34 million-year-old mammals. The Badlands National Park spans over 244,000 acres and offers several hiking trails through the area. The Saddle Pass Trail and the Castle Trail are great trails to travel, but The Fossil Exhibit Trail is labeled as a National Scenic Trail and is one of the most traveled trails in the entire area.
Trail guide booklets are available to assist you in identifying the fossils of the area. Be sure to stop at the brand new Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Catch a 22 minute film on the history of the area, colorful photos, full size models that illustrate the geology and paleontology of the area, and check out the variety of kid-friendly educational exhibits.
Canyon Lake Park
Custer State Park
Black Hills National Forest
The Presidential Trail