The weather last weekend was amazing so I took an impromptu trip to the Badlands not really expecting much from it. I’ll be honest, I don’t exactly think South Dakota is one of the most interesting states. However, I will admit that the Badlands were a lot cooler than I thought they’d be and I really loved the drive through the park. I was stopping constantly to take pictures. Every time I checked the map thinking I had driven for a long time, I was surprised to see that I barely had made any distance because of how often I was stopping. I wish I had brought my GoPro to record some of the drive but I left all that gear at home. The pictures honestly don’t capture some of the wow moments as well.
As usual, some of the best parts of the trip were the drive itself. In particular, there was a stretch of almost 30 miles through Nebraska in which I was on an old, dirt road. No other cars, no people to be seen, nothing but empty fields… it was bliss. I also enjoyed the extremely brief drive through the town of Scenic, SD. It’s just outside the park and only seemed to be a few buildings.
Maybe it was because it was a random weekend in early March or maybe it was because it’s South Dakota, but there were almost no other people in the park. It was a great weekend to make the trip. I only did a little bit of hiking. If I remember correctly, there’s roughly 10 miles of official trails and any other hiking you want to do is all backcountry.
When I left the park, I headed North and stopped in the town of Wall. If you’ve ever driven through South Dakota then you have probably seen signs for Wall Drug, a very popular roadside attraction that’s existed for almost 90 years. Someone mentioned it to me not that long ago and so when I saw the signs I made sure to stop to see what all the fuss was about. For the most part, it’s a standard tourist trap and not exactly something that interested me. However, they have a cafe inside so I grabbed some lunch – and damn, it was really good food. Definitely worth stopping at if you’re hungry.
I also tried to stop at the Wind Cave National Park but the elevator to get into the cave is currently out of service. I spoke to the ranger at the desk at the visitor center and she said it wouldn’t be until April 10th before someone even comes to look at it. Who knows when it’ll get fixed. I’ll probably keep an eye on their website and make another trip there this summer.