Drive the Sage Creek Rim Road

South Dakota Badlands National Park Parking Area

Added by Joe Whitson

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.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Hiking Boots
  • Map and Compass/GPS
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
Read More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

9 months ago

Fun!

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

9 months ago

Added by Joe Whitson

Minnesota Native. Check me out on Instagram: @joewhitson and feel free to shoot me an email if you want to talk more about things to do in Minnesota: joekentwhitson@gmail.com

More Adventures Nearby

Fly Fish from the Rapid Creek Trailhead

South Dakota / Rapid Creek Trail Head

To get the the trailhead for Rapid Creek you must turn to the east onto Pactola Basin Road or FS road 164 when on Highway 385 crossing the Pactola Reservoir.

Isaac Parsons
1 Saves

Camp at Black Fox Campground

South Dakota / Black Fox Campground

Black Fox is 9 miles west of Rochford has nine campsites along the Rhoads Fork Creek where it meets up with the South Fork of Rapid Creek.

Isaac Parsons
9 Saves

Hike the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

South Dakota / Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead

About 4 miles south of the Northeast Park Entrance, just past the Castle Trailhead, is the Cliff Shelf Nature Trailhead.

Michael Wigle
21 Saves