Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park, © Stefan Fussan
The Lakota - the Native American tribe that was led for many years by Chief Sitting Bull - gave this area of South Dakota the name 'mako sica', which translates to 'land bad'. They weren't exaggerating, and modern-day visitors to Badlands National Park should brace themselves for an unsettling, and truly otherworldly, terrestrial experience. The landscape, drenched and wind-blasted for millennia, has been formed into a series of sharp ridges, steep-walled canyons, gullies, pyramids and buttes; with the exposed rock often appearing in beautiful bands of colour, from deep purple, through vermilion, to orange and gold.
Visitors to Badlands National Park will find plenty of well-signed hiking trails, and first-class camping facilities. Ranger-guided programmes are available, incuding children's activities, hikes, lectures and audio-visual presentations. Visitors may see fossils from ancient plants and animals alongside the pretty wildflowers, or take advantage of the Night Sky programme to enjoy the clear, star-studded sky. Whatever you do, don't forget to pack your camera!
Address: 20695 SD Highway 240