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Robert Jones | profile | all galleries >> US West - South West >> 2010 >> Badlands National Park, South Dakota tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Although this portion of the trip covered the area between Sioux Falls to Rapid City SD ... the majority of the photos were taken in Badlands National Park. This visit to The Badlands was hot, sunny, with blue skies and not as forbidding as the last time here in 2006. I also shot more panoramas this time.

Badlands National Park is a national park in southwestern South Dakota that protects 242,756 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. A national monument since 1939, Badlands acquired the South (Stronghold) Unit in 1976, adding yet another dimension to the drama. This large stretch of land belongs to the Oglala, and one of their most sacred places is now preserved within it. It was here, on Stronghold Table, that the final Ghost Dance took place in 1890, just a few weeks before more than 150 Lakota were massacred at Wounded Knee, 25 miles south.

They call it The Wall. It extends for a hundred miles through the dry plains of South Dakota—a huge natural barrier ridging the landscape, sculptured into fantastic pinnacles and tortuous gullies by the forces of water. Those who pass through the upper prairie a few miles north might not even know it exists. Those who traverse the lower prairie to the south, however, can't miss it; it rises above them like a city skyline in ruins, petrified.

On-going rains, freezes and thaws have revealed millions of years of sediment that paint a colorful landscape on the prairies of southwestern South Dakota.

When the Lakota first encountered the striking, moon-like landscape, they aptly called the area “Mako Sica” or “bad land.” Early French trappers called the area "les mauvaises terres a traverser" after difficult travels over the rugged terrain. Today, visitors to Badlands National Park in South Dakota can explore this natural wonder on foot, on horseback or by car as they travel the scenic loop or roam the many trails.

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Highway Scene, Plains of South Dakota, South Dakota
Highway Scene, Plains of South Dakota, South Dakota
Highway Scene, Plains of South Dakota, South Dakota
Highway Scene, Plains of South Dakota, South Dakota
Rest Stop Near White Lake, South Dakota
Rest Stop Near White Lake, South Dakota
Rest Stop Near White Lake, South Dakota
Rest Stop Near White Lake, South Dakota
Highway Scene, South Dakota
Highway Scene, South Dakota
Missouri River At Chamberlain, SD
Missouri River At Chamberlain, SD
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Warning Sign, Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Warning Sign, Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
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