Drive the Sage Creek Rim Road

Badlands National Park Parking Area

Activities

Chillin, Photography

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Added by

Joe Whitson

Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

This Badlands National Park drive is one of the best place to see wildlife like bison, pronghorns, and prairie dogs in the park. Enjoy overlooks at some of the most scenic areas of the park.

A labyrinth of gullies, hoodoos, and ravines, Badlands National Park in western South Dakota is a welcome break from the unrelenting flatness of the surrounding prairie. The remote park is also a paradise for backcountry hikers and campers who really want to escape the crowds and explore wilderness far from trails and roads. With a famously dark night sky perfect for stargazing, easy to see wildlife like bison and big horn sheep, and a desolate, but fascinating landscape, Badlands is a must visit park if you find yourself in the area.

The Sage Creek Road begins where the Badlands Loop, and the pavement, ends. The dirt road hugs the dramatic drop off separating the South Dakota prairie from the alien landscape below. The best place to see bison, take the road slow, keeping an eye out for the animals on both sides. Stop at expansive Robert's Prairie Dog Town to hear hundreds of prairie dogs chirping at your approach and take lunch at the grassy Hay Butte overlook.

The park has an open backcountry policy, so don't be shy about taking some time to get off the road completely and clambering around. Just watch out for rattlesnakes! This section of the park can easily be done in a day, but there is a remote campground with a few amenities at Sage Creek is you want to stay the night.

Unless you already live in the area, consider combining this trip with a jaunt to the nearby Black Hills and Mount Rushmore or even head over to Yellowstone National Park and make it a true roadtrip.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $199/night

Under Canvas Mount Rushmore

Keystone, South Dakota

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Fun!

This was a great and fun drive. There is a lot of wildlife along the drive and endless overlooks of the badlands.

Activities

Chillin, Photography

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Added by

Joe Whitson

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

Adventure

Hike the Badlands' Notch Trail

Adventure

Hike the Castle/Medicine Root Trail in Badlands National Park

Adventure

Hike the Door Trail in Badlands NP

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Related Stories

gear

Why We Love Dakine Surf Bags

There are a lot of great surf bags out there, but Dakine never seems to disappoint us.

destinations

Watch Amazing Footage of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

See how the Hawaiian Islands were formed in real-time.

travel

Your Alaskan Wildlife Basecamp: Stay at Glacier Bay Lodge

Explore pure wilderness by day, sleep in comfort by night.

destinations

20 Stunning Hikes in the Swiss Alps

Mountains don't get much better than this.

More Stories