Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Backpacking in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Backpacking in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

After departing Mammoth Cave National Park, I made my way up to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. I have never been more excited to explore a wilderness than I was when I arrived here. I’ve never in my life seen such a unique place; I instantly fell in love. I set out to camp in the backcountry for a couple days and will be posting all of my favorite photos for weeks to come. I could walk around this magical place for months and never tire of it.

Camping in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Camping in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

I spent the day exploring the Badlands National Park and totally lost track of time. About 2 hours before sunset I realized that I didn’t have a place to spend the night. I asked the park rangers where to camp but they only directed me to campgrounds, which is definitely not my style…so I went on the National Parks website and discovered that Badlands is one of the only National Parks that has zero restrictions or permits required for backcountry camping. You can literally walk off into the wilderness and create your perfect home for the night. I hiked a few miles before the sun set and found my spot. Please remember to always LEAVE NO TRACE that you were ever there. Keep our wild places wild. ⛺️

Backpacking in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Camping in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Pretty sure that I couldn’t have picked a better place to set up camp in Badlands National Park, nor could I get any luckier with this sunset!

Sunset in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Sunset in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Not sure which stars had to align for me to luck out with this sunset while camping this week in the Badlands National Park, but I’m glad they did! You can see this stunning sunset forming through my tent in my prior post…it just got better as time went on! So far, this was the most memorable 24 hours of my trip to visit all of the National Parks in the USA. Check my prior posts, and my next posts, to see the otherworldly beauty of this place.

Backpacking in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

While hiking back out of the backcountry in the Badlands National Park, I turned a corner and was ecstatic to see 6 huge (250-300lb) Bighorn Sheep. In this photo you can see two of them…one in the grass, and the other one I will let you find on your own. 🐏

Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

As I depart Badlands National Park en route to the next park on my year-long adventure, I leave you with some of my favorite photos from this magical place, below. Camping and exploring in this park was one of the most profound experiences I’ve had in any National Park so far & I look forward to finding that feeling again many times along this epic journey. Thank you Badlands.

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