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Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Badlands National Park: Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour

1. Badlands National Park: Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 41+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Badlands in 2-3 hours. Once downloaded, your tour of Badlands National Park begins either in the town of Wall. (If it’s more convenient, you can also begin the tour from the town of Philip.) From there, you’ll head south into the park itself. Once you enter the park, you can take a quick detour to see a prairie dog colony at Roberts Prairie Dog Town. It’s a pretty uncommon sight, and I’d highly recommend it for any animal lovers! After that, you’ll reach Pinnacles Overlook, a fantastic place to spot bison or bighorn sheep. Don’t forget to bring binoculars just in case! Then there’s Ancient Hunters Overlook, where the ancestors of the Lakota once butchered bison they had killed in their hunts. You’ll hear more about these hunters and their prey as you drive. Then you’ll arrive at Yellow Mounds Overlook, which outdoes its unappealing name by revealing millions of years of geologic history! Homestead Overlook is up next. Here, you’ll learn about how the Homestead Acts transformed the Badlands and what they meant for the Lakota living in the region. At Burns Basin, up next, you’ll see the site of one of those 20th-century homesteads once occupied by a sheep rancher. You’ll find something different at Prairie Winds Overlook, offering views not of rocky crags but instead of lush, flowing prairie. Believe it or not, these prairies are in danger of disappearing in the near future, making this spot even more special. Then there’s Panorama Point. The name of this one is pretty self-explanatory, so make sure to set your phone’s camera to Panorama Mode! At Bigfoot Pass, next, you’ll hear the tragic tale of the Wounded Knee Massacre, which took place not far from the Badlands. Then you’ll learn how to spot a golden eagle, one of the Badlands’ most majestic residents. The Fossil Exhibit Trail is up next, and it’s a must-see for anyone traveling with younger explorers. Here, you’ll uncover the history behind the many fossils and prehistoric creatures of the Badlands with an easy walk full of informational signs. After that, you’ll come across Saddle Pass Trail, a short hike for birdwatchers. If you need a break, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center is just beyond that trail. It even features a fossil lab for amateur paleontologists hungry for more knowledge! You’ll come to the Cliff Shelf Trail next. This unique trail takes hikers through a lush juniper forest to break up the harsh, rocky landscape. Then there are the trio of trails: The Notch, The Castle, and The Door. Offering various lengths and difficulties, there’s something for everyone here! Finally, you’ll arrive at Big Badlands Overlook. This one really earns its name, and offers one of the best views in the entire park. Your tour concludes here.

Black Hills & Badlands: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tours

2. Black Hills & Badlands: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tours

Don’t miss a thing as your favorite audio tour narrator guides you to not-to-be-missed viewpoints, along with fascinating stories, tips and directions throughout the Black Hills and Badlands. Follow the suggested itineraries, or divide the commentary and create your own half, full or multi day sightseeing trips. Witness the variety of spectacular landscapes ranging from the prairies grassland and rock formations of the Badlands National Park, to the four presidential faces carved into Mount Rushmore, through to the mountains, canyons, and forests of the Black Hills. Major Highlights: • Badlands Wall • Bridal Veil Falls • Crazy Horse Memorial • Custer State Park • Custer Wildlife Loop Road • Deadwood • Devils Tower • Door Trail • Fossil Trail • Homestake Mine - Lead • Iron Mountain Road • Keystone • Minuteman Missile Visitor Center • Mount Rushmore • Needles Highway • Pigtails and Tunnels • Prairie Dog Town • Rapid City • Roughlock Falls • Sylvan Lake • Spearfish Canyon • Wind Cave and Jewel Cave • Yellow Mounds Overlook Includes: Enjoy a driving route that takes you to all the best sights and finishes with a trop at Mount Rushmore as the grand finale. Drive the Black Hill loop in the direction it was created - counter-clockwise, which means you will approach Mount Rushmore with peekaboo views through the tunnel along the winding Iron Mountain Road. Venture to the Badlands National Park. See a landscape dominated by prairies, eroding buttes, and fascinating rock formations that created a challenging barrier for pioneers. Receive excellent viewing opportunities and some terrific hikes to enjoy, many easy short boardwalks, but also some challenging and rewarding trails. Visit a decommissioned nuclear missile silo and see examples of how original homesteaders lived. Follow the 19-mile Spearfish Canyon route through 1,000 foot limestone walls. This scenic route also visits what was one of the world's richest gold mining operations at the Homestake Mine in Lead. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Deadwood, whose earliest characters included Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

Wall: Mount Rushmore & Badlands Self-Guided Audio Tour

3. Wall: Mount Rushmore & Badlands Self-Guided Audio Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 43+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Badlands & Mount Rushmore in 4-5 hours. Once downloaded, your tour of Mount Rushmore begins outside the Information Center. As you walk toward the mountain, you’ll stop at a memorial to the sculptor behind this monument and hear his story. Next, you’ll stroll down the Avenue of Flags, before arriving at the main viewing platform, boasting a clear view of Mount Rushmore. Too many people? A less-crowded platform waits just ahead, where you’ll hear how workers carved the presidential faces. Then you’ll stop at the Sculptor’s Studio, where you can see a plaster model of the monument’s original design and learn more about Borglum himself. After that, you’ll walk the Presidential Trail, a boardwalk through lush natural scenery. Along the way, you’ll hear about the Lakota perspective on Mount Rushmore. Your tour ends at the conclusion of the Presidential Trail, back at the main viewing platform. At Badlands National Park, your tour begins in the town of Wall (or Philip if it’s more convenient). Upon entering the park, you can choose to detour to a prairie dog colony that’s perfect for animal lovers! That’s followed by Pinnacles Overlook, a great place to see bison or bighorn sheep. At Ancient Hunters Overlook, next, the ancestors of the Lakota used to butcher bison they’d hunted. Then you’ll pass Yellow Mounds Overlook, which reveals millions of years of geologic history! Homestead Overlook comes next. Here, you’ll find out how the Homestead Acts forever changed the Badlands. Then, at Burns Basin, you’ll get a chance to see the site of one of those homesteads! Prairie Winds Overlook is next, offering views of lush, flowing prairie. Then there’s Panorama Point, one of the park’s best spots for photos. After that, you’ll learn how to identify a golden eagle, one of the Badlands’ most iconic residents. The Fossil Exhibit Trail follows, and is a must-see for anyone with younger travelers. This trail uncovers the history behind the many fossils and prehistoric creatures of the Badlands. Next, you’ll come to Saddle Pass Trail, a hike that’s great for birdwatchers. Then there’s the Cliff Shelf Trail, which takes hikers through a juniper forest to break up the rocky landscape. You won’t want to miss the next trio of trails known as The Notch, The Castle, and The Door. Boasting a whole breadth of difficulties and lengths, there’s something for everyone here! Finally, you’ll reach Big Badlands Overlook, offering some of the best views in the whole park. Your tour concludes here.

Badlands National Park Private Tour

4. Badlands National Park Private Tour

Enjoy a private tour for a unique glimpse into the unique beauty of the Badlands National Park. Learn about the history of the area and spend the day discovering the rare geology of the Badlands. After being picked up, take a short drive to the quaint town of Wall to explore and uncover why Wall Drug is so legendary throughout the world. Next, travel into the Badlands National Park to admire some of the rarest and most incredible geological formations in South Dakota. Enjoy a few moderate hikes around the Badlands and with some luck see some local wildlife up close. Lastly, visit the town of Scenic, a ghost town with a great history, which your guide will tell you all about. On your way there, see the Minuteman Missile Site.

From Rapid City: Badlands National Park Trip with Wall Drug

5. From Rapid City: Badlands National Park Trip with Wall Drug

Head to the Badlands National Park for a day of unforgettable nature and dramatic sights. Enjoy a guided tour with snacks, drinks, and a picnic lunch, and visit the famous Wall Drug roadside attraction. Start with pickup from your hotel, hop in the vehicle, and head for the dramatic Badlands National Park. Sit back and relax as you travel through an ever-changing landscape. Keep a look out for wild animals like the American Bison, prairie dogs, coyotes, Bighorn Sheep, antelope, and more. Be struck by the sheer scale of everything as you drive through it. Admire a wild yet eerily calm that appears almost like a painting. Witness pinnacles and spires rising from the flat grassland in every direction, and great cliffs jutting into the sky behind them. Enjoy stops at a safe distance to watch animals grazing together peacefully. See tiny prairie dogs and pronghorn trotting by as you admire the natural landscape and the creatures that inhabit it. Drive down Sage Creek Rim Road and the Peter Norbeck-designed Badlands Loop Road with plenty of time to take some dramatic pictures. Be struck by the subtle changes in the landscape during the drive. See the brown and pink of the sandy soil gradually give way to more muted shades of yellow and purple. Complete your experience with a stop at the cowboy-themed Wall Drug roadside attraction. Browse the stores and sights as you delve into the authentic atmosphere of Americana.

Other Sightseeing Options in Badlands National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Badlands National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Badlands National Park

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 3 reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour, and learned more than our excellent guided bus tour on a separate excursion earlier in the week. I highly recommend the GuideAlong app!

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, and The Badlands. So much information and well told! Many options of great activities along the way.

The information was very helpful and informative about different parts of the park.

Provided insightful info covering the complex history and beauty of Bad lands

i loved the gps following, suggestions for hiking, and history lesson.