Highlights of South Dakota's Black Hills and Badlands
Badlands National Park
Follow any road piercing 244,000-acre Badlands National Park (about 75 miles east of Rapid City) to enter an almost otherworldly landscape of shale and sandstone. Cut by eons of rain and runoff, the soft rock is a maze of knife-edge pyramids, mammoth tortoiseshell mounds and broad, grass-capped mesas. To learn the secrets of this landscape, join park rangers daily (summers) for prairie and geology walks, fossil talks and other programs originating at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center (605/433-5361; nps.gov/badl).