Driving into the Badlands is like entering an alien world. Your senses are assaulted by the hills made of rock rather than soil, by the fantastic colored bands, and by the expansive views. The area has fascinated explorers for decades, filling them with a combination of dread and fascination. The Lakota called it mako sica; the early French trappers described it as les mauvaises terres a traverser. Both translate to Bad Lands.
It was hot when we visited the area in 2004 (105 degrees). Today was hot also, but not quite as bad (92 degrees). But it seems natural here for heat to be radiating from the stone.
“Fancy yourself on the hottest day in summer in the hottest spot of such a place without water – without an animal and scarce an insect astir – without a single flower to speak pleasant things to you and you will have some idea of the utter loneliness of the Bad Lands.” Paleontologist T. Culbertson
And yet, there is a beauty all around you.
The many bands of color are from the layers of deposit over the eons of minute grains of sand, silt and clay that have been cemented into solid form.
Conservationist F. Tilden described it as “peaks and valleys of delicately banded colors – colors that shift in the sunshine,…and a thousand tints that color charts do not show. In the early morning and evening, when shadows are cast upon the infinite peaks or on a bright moonlit night when the whole region seems a part of another world, the Badlands will be an experience not easily forgotten.”
Come, take a drive through the park with us. Click on the brochure to begin:
For more information on the Badlands, click here.