Badlands National Park Incredible Photos

The Door Trail at sunrise is a  Badlands National Park Photos with jagged rock formations, and a cloudy sky in the background

Spending three days in Badlands National Park in South Dakota was an experience unlike any other. With its rugged terrain and stunning landscapes, this park offered us a chance to connect with nature. Over three days, we explored the park’s vast wilderness areas and hiked along its numerous trails. Later we witnessed incredible views from its overlooks. Badlands National Park Wildlife photos were a big interest to us. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Additionally, we took in the park’s unique geological formations, which include towering rock spires, deep canyons, and colorful badlands formations. Be sure not to miss the Badlands National Park sunset photos.

We stopped here as part of a road trip. To see the start of the trip click ,HERE

Badlands NP Illustrated Trails Badlands NP Recreation Map

Badlands National Park is an area of beautiful pinnacles and dramatic canyons and is home to many species of wildlife. We got here in mid-August of 2022.

To use this map click on the icon in the upper left corner to pull down the menu and select points of interest from there.

The Facts

Location. South Dakota

Founded. Nov. 10th 1978

Elevation. 3,340 Feet

Entrance Fee. Private Vehicle. $30.00 good for 7 days

Special Permits Required. None

Size. 244,000 acres

Closest major airport. Rapid City Regional Airport 55 miles

The Campground

We stayed in the Cedar Pass Campground near the Visitors Center at the Badlands National Park. It was a nice campground with a lot of room, and all the sites were pull-thru. We had water and electric hook-ups and there was a dump station. We stayed here for 3 nights. There was so much to see that we didn’t do much hiking but maybe we will get back there someday. You can book your stay here at recreation .gov

Sage Creek is another campsite in the park with 22 sites that are first-come first-serve.

Our trailer with a beautiful sunset in the background is a Badlands National Park Photos

The Lodge

Cedar Pass Lodge is located near the southern entrance and reservations can be booked HERE.

The Visitor Centers

The Ben Reifel Visitors Center is located near the Lodge at the southern entrance. The White River Visitor Center is located near the northern entrance.

Day 1: The Pinnicles at sunset and moonrise

After setting camp we went to an area I called the Pinnacles, where we had a beautiful sunset and moonrise. It was a perfect, relaxing evening after a long day of driving. I was photographing the sunset and was surprised when I turned around and saw the full moon rising. These Badlands National Park sunset photos are stunning. A Badlands National Park sunset is not to be missed.

Day 2:Badlands and Prairiedog Town

On the second day we embarked on a scenic drive along the Badlands Loop Road. The road commences near the visitors’ center on SD 240 and gradually transforms into Sage Creek Rd./Rim Rd. Along the way, we were treated to a series of breathtaking vistas with opportunities for Badlands National Park photos. Our drive took us through Roberts Prairie Dog Town, where we encountered countless prairie dogs inquisitively peering at us. We were also fortunate enough to spot several herds of bison grazing in the open areas. We had the chance to explore the charming town of Interior before returning back into the park. The Badlands Loop Road is a must-see for anyone visiting the park, offering an unforgettable journey through the heart of this unique landscape.

Day 2: Sunset and Moonrise

Inspired by the previous night’s moonrise, we headed to Door Trail to witness the full moon ascending over distant spires. The well-maintained boardwalk led to an overlook before navigating craggy terrain. As the sun set, vibrant colors adorned the sky, and the moonrise left us in awe. Spotting bighorn sheep added magic to the moment. Door Trail is ideal for a Badlands National park sunset photos, and the moonrise made it unforgettable.

Day 3: Door Trail Sunrise and Wall SD

Returning the next morning, we witnessed a stunning sunrise on the Door Trail, enjoying the comfortable temperature even before dawn. With daytime temperatures reaching the mid-80s and nights cooling to the mid-60s, the weather was ideal. Morning visits to parks often offer solitude; at Door Trail, only a few photographers joined us at sunrise. Despite being a popular daytime destination, the trail offered tranquility and solitude for those seeking a peaceful nature experience. Highly recommended for early morning serenity.

Door Trail at sunrise with pinnacles and a cloudy blue sky in Badlands National Park Photos

After hiking, we headed north on SD 240, taking Interstate 90 to Wall, South Dakota. Arriving early, we explored nearby shops. Joining around 30 people outside Wall Drug Store, we eagerly awaited its opening on the boardwalk benches. A must-visit, it offers a unique shopping and dining experience popular for decades. The store features western wear, vintage memorabilia, and famous homemade donuts and 5-cent coffee. Exploring Wall Drug Store is an excellent way to conclude a Badlands trip. During our visit, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally filled the roads and town with hundreds of bikes.

Wall Drug Store main entrance

Door Notch Trail in Badlands National Park is a photographer’s haven, capturing wildlife and landscapes in exquisite detail. Highlight: photographing bighorn sheep and deer in their natural habitat was a humbling and fortunate experience. The rugged terrain and scenic vistas create a picturesque backdrop, enhanced by the dramatic beauty of the Badlands’ geological formations. For photography enthusiasts, Door Notch Trail is a must-visit in the park.


For the camera and setup I use for wildlife photos see the ,Photography Gear Guide

Badlands National Park is a natural beauty treasure trove, with stunning landscapes, wildlife, and geological wonders. From rugged terrain to diverse wildlife, there’s something for everyone. Whether a hiker, photographer, or nature seeker, Badlands National Park photos impress. Trails, activities, and scenic vistas offer awe-inspiring experiences. Our visit was unforgettable, highly recommended for a unique nature adventure.

Do you want to see the next stop on the road trip? It was 108 miles from Badlands National Park to Custer State Park On to Custer State Park

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

It was quite hot during our trip here, and I recommend having an integrated hydro backpack, as I discussed in the First Trip To Yellowstone post, and having a high-quality small ice chest for your vehicle. We purchased a Yeti ice chest specifically for traveling, which has been a great investment. Additionally, having an electric ice maker can be a luxury, but it is a great option if you have space. We go through a lot of ice, and the ability to make ice at the campsite is a real convenience for us.

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