Our visit to Badlands National Park was excellent! We continue to be an awe of what nature has to share with us.
The name “Badlands” comes from the translation of what the natives and the early French explorers called this area: Bad Land to Cross.
The area is a true treasure to both geologists and paleontologists. There are layers upon layers of shale, sandstone, volcanic ash, and siltstone that contains millions of years of history. Water and wind have crafted some incredible sights. We were amazed at the fragility of the mountains and rock formations. A trip to the visitor center revealed the various fossils that have been discovered here, of animals long extinct.
Our first day in the area we took a drive along the Badlands Loop Road and the Sage Creek Rim Road just to take in the scenery and see some wildlife. Seeing all these critters in their natural habitat has been one of our favorite activities!
We also managed a trip into the town of Wall, to visit the famous Wall Drug store. After seeing at least 30 different intriguing advertising signs along the highway, we figured we just had no choice but to check it out. Thankfully we arrived on a day with low number customers, apparently on any given day during summer the store can bring in 20,000 travelers stopping in for some free ice water and 5¢ coffee. Their donuts were fantastic. A must for anyone who is traveling through the area!
The second day in the area we left the pups at home and headed for the trails. We managed to squeeze in three trail systems for the day.
We started with the Cliff Shelf nature trail, which was mostly stairs and boardwalk. It did however appear to be home to many rattlesnakes, there were signs everywhere! Thank goodness we didn’t see any because I'm pretty sure I would have ran back to the truck.
Next was the Window/Door Trail, which included a boardwalk the first 100 meters, then you get to hop off and follow a series of yellow poles until you get to a massive view of an impressive canyon. This was a fun trail, and the first of its kind for me, although I’m not sure I’d find another like it anywhere else.
Our final trail of the day was the Notch Trail, which officially wore me out. It was listed as a strenuous trail, and I had my second guesses when we started. But I figured what the hey, we can always turn around if it gets too much. Although nerve racking in more than a few spots, I’m proud to say we made it to the end for a fantastic view within the mountain tops overlooking much of the park – including the first trail we took earlier in the day.
I’m still trying to decide which part was scarier, going back down that ladder or walking the cliff edge with loose gravel…
Our final day in the area wasn’t very inviting. It was gray, cloudy skies with lots of wind at 35 degrees. We spent most of the day at home doing a few chores and making some big travel decisions.
Up ahead of us are a few longer travel days as we make our way east to Ohio, where we plan to spend the holidays with family. Although we may not have as many travel adventures to share during that time, we have a few other things in the works to share with you until we hit the road again in January!