photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
mathilda williams | profile | all galleries >> Badlands National Park, SD tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Badlands National Park, SD

For centuries humans have viewed South Dakota's celebrated Badlands with a mix of dread and fascination. The Lakota knew the place as "mako sica". Early French trappers called the area "les mauvaises terres a traverser". Both mean "bad lands." Conservation writer Freeman Tilden described the region as "peaks and valleys of delicately banded colors - colors that shift in the sunshine... and a thousand tints that color charts do not show. In the early morning and evening, when shadows are cast upon the infinite peaks or on a bright moonlit night when the whole region seems a part of another world, the Badlands will be an experience not easily forgotten." Paleontologist Thaddeus Culbertson has another reaction, "Fancy yourself on the hottest day in summer in the hottest spot of such a place without water - without an animal and scarce an insect astir - without a single flower to speak pleasant things to you and you will have some idea of the utter loneliness of the Bad Lands."

I was unprepared for mysterious beauty of the Dakota Bad Lands.... I was in awe of a
landscape unlike any other I have ever encountered anywhere in the world.

Over 11,000 years of human history pales to the eons old paleontological resources. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old. The evolution of mammal species such as the horse, sheep, rhinoceros and pig can be studied in the Badlands formations.

Approximately 75 million years ago Earth's climate was warmer than it is now, and a shallow sea covered much of the region we know as the Great Plains. In today's Badlands the bottom of that sea appears as a grayish-black sedimentary rock called the Pierre (pronounced "peer") shale. This layer is a rich source of fossils, creatures sank to the bottom of the sea when they died and over a long course of time became fossils.

The park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of eroded pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. Sixty-four thousand acres are designated official wilderness, and is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America. The Stronghold Unit is co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and includes the sites of 1890's Ghost Dances.

Located inside the park, is the Cedar Pass Lodge & Restaurant, where we found the food and service to be excellent. I would recommend the restaurant with confidence.
long horned sheep
long horned sheep
long horned sheep
long horned sheep
golden hues
golden hues
badlands on a clear day
badlands on a clear day
pastel colours
pastel colours
entering badlands national park
entering badlands national park
layered
layered
south dakota beauty
south dakota beauty
badlands,  on the loop road
badlands, on the loop road
a view without equal
a view without equal
sharp as needles
sharp as needles
constant contrasts
constant contrasts
heart-shaped imprint on top of the mountain
heart-shaped imprint on top of the mountain
vista
vista
curves
curves
crater-like landscape
crater-like landscape
layers
layers
surpringly green spot in the badlands
surpringly green spot in the badlands
beauty, plain and simple
beauty, plain and simple
singular beauty
singular beauty
mounds
mounds
Cedar Pass Lodge
Cedar Pass Lodge
have a seat
have a seat
exhibit inside Cedar Pass lodge
exhibit inside Cedar Pass lodge
original watercolour painting by Marion Toillion
original watercolour painting by Marion Toillion
Inside Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant
Inside Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant
badlands at dusk
badlands at dusk
badlands at dusk
badlands at dusk
looking down
looking down
badlands at dusk
badlands at dusk
badlands beauty
badlands beauty
badlands close up
badlands close up
true beauty in the badlands
true beauty in the badlands
badlands peaks
badlands peaks
soft light at sunset in the badlands
soft light at sunset in the badlands
early evening light
early evening light
big sky over the prairie
big sky over the prairie
black hills in the badlands
black hills in the badlands
a view that stretches to infinity
a view that stretches to infinity
quick peek
quick peek
bison
bison
badlands crevices and cliffs
badlands crevices and cliffs
badlands beauty
badlands beauty
clouds over the badlands
clouds over the badlands
badlands
badlands
badlands sky
badlands sky
beautiful light in the badlands
beautiful light in the badlands
badlands in pink and yellow
badlands in pink and yellow
mountain splendour
mountain splendour
more badlands
more badlands
tops
tops
the view below
the view below
the road less traveled
the road less traveled
heavy traffic
heavy traffic