Black Hills Tourist Attractions: Blown Away by the Badlands. Literally.

January 28, 2014

With just 48 hours to spend in Rapid City, I had already scheduled a visit to Mt. Rushmore, a drive on the Needles Highway, and a Buffalo Jeep Safari at Custer State Park, and a pit stop to eat the famous Wall Drug donuts. From my hotel the first night, I spontaneously Googled “things to do” and found that Badlands National Park was just an hour away.  I knew that it was highly unlikely that I’d be visiting South Dakota again, so I decided to squeeze it in.

The day started out unseasonably cold, even for early November, so I stopped at a local department store and picked up a warm purple jacket and matching gloves.  After an hour of holding my rented Subaru Outback steady as I drove through high winds complete with tumbleweeds blowing across my windshield, I arrived at the Badlands.


Did I say it was windy?  Perhaps or gale force would better describe.  When I opened the door to get out of the car, the wind nearly blew the door off the hinge. Strong enough to knock me over, I was glad for the guard rails as I walked to the end of the first lookout point.

I’m all for adventure, but plunging headlong into an abyss is a bit much.  Even for me.

 black hills tourist attractions

The wind took my breath away, but not as much as the stunning panorama that is the Badlands.  Rocky formations with striations of multi-colored hues all vying for my attention, everywhere I looked.  I hadn’t expected it to be this beautiful.


Juxtaposed against a sky of deep periwinkle blue, the otherworldly-looking limestone formations paid no attention to the gusty winds that were threatening bring me to my knees.  It was not possible to set up my tripod; it was difficult enough just to hang on to my Nikon, and I made sure the strap was securely around my neck and left arm.

Read the rest of my adventure in Badlands National Park, SD in WaveJourney, November 11, 2013

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