Badlands in South Dakota is the biggest Midwest National Park with an area of 982.4 square kilometers. A varied ecosystem that encompasses a rugged unique rocky landscape and the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the US. The park area has enormous importance for Native American tribes, and the southern parts of the Badlands are co-managed with the Oglala Lakota tribe.

All travelers from abroad need ESTA Visa travel authorization. When planning the US trip, many travelers ask how long is an esta valid for? Once the American administration approves your visa, you'll have two years to go to the US.

When to visit Badlands?

Summer is peak season in Badlands. The temperatures are sweltering along with the crowds, especially in the central part with colorful Buttes and rocky formations. Last weeks of summer and start of the fall is probably the best time to visit. The temperatures are still high, and you won't get much rain.

 Spring is also a beautiful time of year in Badlands when the dominant green color gives life to the Park. On the other hand, spring can bring heavy storms and rainfall, so you should carefully check your weather app. Winters are long and extremely cold, and it is not a great idea to visit the Park.

Badlands National Park backpacking 

Although the first pioneers that traveled the Badlands called it bad lands to travel, the stretch of 50 miles of spires, buttes, pinnacles, and ravines offer an excellent place to get away and enjoy the pristine nature. You don't have to ask for a permit if you want to spend a night in the Park. However, it would help if you remained within half of mile from a trail or a road with your camp.

The Park has rugged terrain, and make sure you have sturdy boots. Other rules for backpackers say you can't bring pets, and you should carry or bury your refuse. If you're visiting Badlands in July and August, don't forget at least a gallon of water. The Badlands are notorious for lack of water.

The weather forecast is your best friend because Park's conditions can change dramatically, with temperatures soaring to 38 degrees Celsius in summer. Bast backpacking months are September and the beginning of October. The view of the clear sky above Park and the stars' shine is a reward for backpacking enthusiasts.

Places to eat near Badlands National Park

Badlands attract lots of tourists over the year, and there are many restaurants near the Park. Some 13 miles from the Park entrance are the Badlands Saloon and Grille, with excellent interior and outdoor seating. Classic American food, Grill, and Pizza are great comfort food after a long hiking day through the Park.

Like all the other close restaurants, Red Rock Restaurant and Lounge is located in Wall's small town. American bar has breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus with classic American food.

Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant is along Hwy 240 in the eastern part of the Park. You can choose from a classic American menu or vegetarian and vegan options.

Other popular restaurants near the Park are Wall Drug Store Café, Wagon Wheel Bar & Grill, and Dairy Queen.

Badlands National Park sunset 

Both sunset and sunrise are spectacular in the Badlands. The play of the light and the warm glow on the already colorful landscape is fantastic. Pinnacles and buttes are covered in shades of red and yellow, and shadows add depth to perception. The surreal scenery becomes even more cerebral. 

The best places to take sunset pictures in Badlands National Park are Pinnacles Overlook, Bigfoot. Pass Picnic Area, Norbeck Pass, and Conata Basin Overlook. You can find serenity watching the sunrise from Big Badlands Overlook or the Door Trail on the opposite side. Another great spot for early birds is Panorama Point.

Badlands is an incredible spot for geology buffs and a place of particular importance to Native Americans. It would be great if you could squeeze in the visit to the Badlands into your Great Plains itinerary. Before you make the final plan and book flights and accommodation, check your esta status. Sometimes, ESTA Visa is turned down, and you will need more time to get a classic visa. If you get an ESTA Visa travel authorization, you will have three months to explore America.

Final thoughts

The geology of Badland park is a trip to ancient history. The rock formation rose through the process of deposition around 28 million years ago. The erosion that revealed the structures started just 500,000 years ago, and the Badlands lose inch per year.
Besides looking at layers of planet history, the Park has bison running through the grass prairie as it once was.