There is this Silence in the Badlands…

Any Rich Mullins fans out there that recognize this title as a line from his song “Calling out your Name”? I must confess that other than this song lyric, I’d never even really heard of the Badlands. They weren’t along our original planned route, mostly because we didn’t know they were there.

But we’re so glad we changed our route to include this beautiful area! After days and days of driving through seemingly endless prairies, the Badlands rise up out of the horizon like an impenetrable fortress, and we often discussed how they must have felt back in the pioneer days as they approached this sudden change of landscape in covered wagons. It was surely a different sense of awe from the one we felt, sitting in an air conditioned minivan driving on a paved road.

We spent two nights at the Badlands Interior Campground just outside of the national park, including one extremely windy night when we feared our camper might just blow over. During the days, we explored the national park and went to church in Interior (which we wrote about previously). We drove around a loop of the park, and took a few short hikes out to better viewpoints.

Peter LOVES riding in the backpack when we take hikes!

And Emelie is our little navigator, finding the trail marker numbers in the right order

Glad they told us so we didn’t just keep walking right off the cliff!

Look where we climbed!
For a little girl who likes to climb rocks, the Badlands are like heaven.

Watch out for rattlesnakes!

Impressive views

Dressed to match the sky that day!

Look at those beautiful kids!

Family photo with the help of the tripod

Fossil walk – a loop trail with different kinds of fossils encased along the way.
Emelie was fascinated and loved pointing out features (head, tail, eye holes, etc)

I don’t know if there is a “silence in the Badlands” since, if there is, our kids filled it with sound, but they certainly are a majestic sight. Badlands National Park was definitely worth spending a few days exploring along our route west!

Campground Review: Badlands Interior Campground

Price: At $21/night, this was one of the more inexpensive places we stayed, but still with really reasonable quality.
Location: Perfect. It’s hard to stay closer without actually staying inside the National Park, but the NP campgrounds have fewer amenities for about the same price.
Facilities: Bathrooms/showers were clean and functional. The playground left a bit to be desired. They promise free wifi, but the signal didn’t actually reach out to our campsite (which was not all that far away). We had a slow but working connection if we sat outside the office at a picnic table.
Site description: Gravel and the brownish substance that passes for grass in South Dakota. The picnic tables had sun shields on one side, but it was too windy to eat outside anyway. Only a few small trees, but no more or less than other places in the area. It’s just not a good area for shade. Beautiful views of the Badlands on the horizon, and lots of stars visible at night.
Neighborhood: The hosts were very friendly. We never really met any of our “neighbors” but it seemed like a mixed demographic, from small tents to giant RVs.
Comments: We would definitely recommend this campground to anyone traveling in the Badlands area. There is also a motel adjacent to the campground for those who aren’t campers. It’s a really good location and a really reasonable price.

Campsite photo

Sunset in the Badlands… not a bad view from the campground!

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