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Visit Badlands National Park

The Badlands is an area of steep canyons, jagged spires and bands of colorful rocks, whose appearance comes from half a million years of water erosion. Under the pressure of the elements, the land has eroded into odd shapes and fissured slopes. These formations are surrounded by mixed-grass prairie. The best time to visit is in the early morning or late afternoon, the strange geological formations and beautiful coloration are especially striking when the sun hits them from a low angle.

A 30 mile road winds through the park, taking you past many viewing points. Thriving in the area are coyotes, bighorn sheep, buffalo, pronghorn, mule deer, prairie dogs and rattlesnakes, including the black-footed ferret (the most endangered mammal in North America). By far the best way to appreciate the dramatic landscape is on one of the park’s hiking trails. The Badlands region is a treasure trove of prehistoric remains, including those of a saber-toothed feline, and ancestors of camels and horses. A walk along the brief Fossil Exhibit Trail will let you view replicas of a number of fossils.

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