Badlands National Park stands in stark contrast the surrounding plains of South Dakota. Its dramatic landscapes span layered rock formations, steep canyons and towering spires. Bison, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs inhabit its sprawling grasslands. The Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240) winds past scenic lookouts. Several trails begin near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. The Fossil Exhibit Trail is a boardwalk with displays on fossils uncovered in the park.
The rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world, and the striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. Today, the park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.