Road Trip: Day 3 – Badlands National Park

June 6th 2018

I woke up more than motivated Wednesday morning for still trying to get over the cold Phoenix and I left home with. Waking up to this scene may have some influence.


0606180619a_HDR.jpgSince the boys weren’t up I decided to go for a run. Running up the surrounding hills was way more challenging than anticipated, my lungs were definitely not cooperating but damn the beauty I saw was worth every huff and puff. I stood atop the hills admiring the beauty of this area along with the unique vegetation.

These views thou……….I mean look at those gorgeous vibrant green rolling hills. I joked with Jason that the campground looked like a forming compound.



Phoenix woke up on the cranky side so we used the Prairie Dogs as a peace offering. It worked!! Realizing the time, we had to put the move on our breaking down camp process. Phoenix wanted to play around in the SUV with what room was left as I was bringing a load of stuff to pack I caught Phoenix trying to give Grandpa a call. Seriously can this kid get any cuter!

Getting an extremely late start, 11 am is not an ideal plan in South Dakota especially when your next stop is the Badlands. Heat, heat and more heat plus keeping in mind nap time for lil man.

On our way out along that washboard road we got as up close and personal with buffalos as we would on the whole trip. 0606181012c_HDR.jpgLiterally a few yards from our vehicle. 0606181013a_HDR.jpg

When leaving Sage Creek Campground and hitting the main road you have only two options, left brings you to Wall and right to the incredible Badlands National Park. This is when you will finally run in to the Pinnacles Entrance to pay for a park pass.

Badlands National Park is mind blowing. Especially if you have never been exposed to this type of terrain. Jason never was before then. You go from those vibrant green grass covered hills to an endless vastness of uniquely colored layered jagged ridges with deep mysterious ravines hiding only god knows what.

The Park itself does a wonderful job of providing numerous pull outs to take in all the peculiar sights. We came in through Pinnacles Entrance, drove the Badlands Loop Road, pulling off into Conata Picnic Area, continuing the loop road and exiting through the Northeast Entrance.  We were stopping at almost all of the viewing area until Phoenix started to get tired. Of course on our very first stop I wanted to get a family photo. Phoenix was not having that, all he wanted to do was save the ram whom he thought was in desperate need of saving at the bottom of the cliffside. Toddlers minds are really something else and always a mystery.

Badlands National Park is so phenomenal I’ll let a slideshow show its beauty and our adventure. It was surprising to witness 4 rams in row on a hillside, the color and uniqueness of this area is just outstanding. We will definitely being doing a revisit to experience some Badlands hiking.

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Who knew a gift shop in Badlands National Park was going to be where the “badge idea” was finally sparked. I am not the most crafty of people but I really wanted to make something that would remind us of all our adventures together but would last for years to come. So we are going to pick out a blanket worthy of all our patches and badges and start the attaching process. Suggestions on doing this perfect way very welcome! Wonder how long it will take us to fill the blanket?!?!

Leaving through the Northeast Entrance will bring you right to the I-90 and going left back towards Wall, South Dakota, home of the world famous Wall Drug. I’m going to be honest here I love the history of the place and how it came to be but now it is just a little bit overrated in my own personal opinion. Overwhelming and overpriced given for any tourist attraction. Phoenix did however have a blast getting a rollercoaster of emotions from a loud giant t-rex robot that was either making him laugh or hide but if we went to move him away he wouldn’t have that either. Again toddlers mind. They also have a very mini “water park”, spouts in the ground shooting water in a random order, wonderful spot for a real quick cool down considering the South Dakota heat. Both these video will be at the end of blog due to I can not edit there size.

0926180834c~2.jpgThe only thing bought from Wall Drug was a shot glass and dinosaur toy for Phoenix because he spotted it before we could turn him away lol. Trust me when I say this child does not need anymore toys.  We did however get all 3 of us shirts at a everything $5.99 shop across the road. Jason found a shirt that had all 3 main attractions we were here to see all on one shirt, steal!! You do get what you pay for though Jason and Phoenix’s shirts are doing just fine mine however has some decal peeling.


Just a couple hours away was our final destination of the night and where we intended to make home last a couple days, Custer State Park. I had now idea the entirety of this park. Arriving blindly as this trip was only loosely planned to allow flexibility. We pulled up to the entrance thinking we would get a park pass and registered for a campsite. This is when we learned they have a bit different reservation system then we are use to in Wisconsin. All reservations have to be done by phone, they even have phones in the beginning of all campgrounds for this. Luckily they have certain spots reserved for same day.

This area of South Dakota is just gorgeous, rocks jutting out everywhere in forms unseen before now, roads windy offering something exciting around every corner. We finally make home at the campsite and enjoy a night of easy, slow paced family chilling. Enjoying a fire we never knew would be our last for a long stretch.

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As promised those videos from Wall Drug-













3 Comments Add yours

  1. Meghan says:

    I just visited Badlands and Custer the first week of May! What amazing places, huh? I love the Black Hills. Glad you all had a great time!


  2. You three are like the Three Musketeers 🙂 Always up for a challenge. Great as single ones, but awesome as a team !! Sounds like a heck of a great trip you had there…something new on my bucket list for sure !! Take care & always have fun 🙂
    Cheers from Nova Scotia


  3. BIGtinyWorld says:

    The badlands are pretty awesome. When we went we heard a rattlesnake and luckily didn’t get too close. Our road trip was from Fort Collins, CO to the badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Devils Tower. The bison were incredible but you don’t ever want to get charged by one.


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