The Good and the Badlands South Dakota

The Surreal Badlands South Dakota

What can I say about this scene at Badlands National Park in South Dakota? I was awestruck by the gorgeous, yet stark vistas and wondered what it would take to survive in the harsh conditions of a land like this.

"The surreal landscape of the Badlands South Dakota"

Badlands, South Dakota

These photos were taken on the park’s scenic loop road, about an hour’s drive through this ruggedly beautiful place on earth. I loved feeling the warm wind on my face on this August day as I stood alongside the road trying to take in the colors, landscapes and endless open space. At times, the wind was the only sound.

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47 thoughts on “The Good and the Badlands South Dakota

  1. Leigh

    I visited the Badlands area during the Sturgess motorcycle rally. I remember motorcycles more than Badlands but I do remember how beautiful it was. I especially love your top photo and the title.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Leigh. I haven’t been to the rally itself, but I’ve been on the road when there are lots of motorcycles headed that way — must be quite an experience in Sturgis during that time.

  2. Linda

    Love these photos. I hope to see this one day. I’ve always been drawn to desert landscapes. I hiked a mal pais yesterday, and it was fascinating, and I was intrigued by the type of plants which were clinging to life there. Of course, since this is an island the scope of the landscape is much less, so you don’t quite get that sense of helplessness I think you might get in S Dakota or Namibia or other desert regions.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Linda. I’ve always been fascinatted by the vastness of landscapes like this, too. Hard to describe the feeling of being there — that “sense of helplessness” you mention may be part of it.

  3. Renee

    Gorgeous, Cathy! I love the coloration of the dunes. It’s funny….whenever I see the word Badlands, I think of that Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek movie….crazy good.

  4. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    The colors are amazing. You are right, this is beautiful in a stark kind of way! I have never seen pics of the Badlands so appreciated the opportunity.

  5. InsideJourneys

    Not sure where my previous comment went — the page went blank after I hit the Submit button.
    Anyway, love your photos, especially the first one. The colors are amazing. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing this. Never been to S. Dakota but you make me want to.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Sorry you had a problem posting the comment. Thanks for taking the time to redo it! Flattered that the photo has enticed you to travel to S. Dakota sometime!

      1. Meg

        Hi Cathy! So nice to find you…I am a Wonder Junkie myself as well as a photog and love these images! Its almost as if you have captured the essence of Time itself in these pastel strata of milleniums. Very cool! I will be sure to visit again!

  6. Theresa Torres

    Hi Cathy, I also love your photos.The colors are amazing! Those hills look like small volcanoes. I agree with Michael, makes one think of beautiful badlands in Mars. I wonder how it would look covered in snow or what the scene would be like at dusk.

    This is definitely one for my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

  7. ayngelina

    You know one of the best things about writing about the deserts of Chile was that so many people shared that there were also incredible landscapes in the US – I had no idea!

    1. Cathy Post author

      I read your post about Chile, too. Yes, the U.S. has a wide diversity of landscapes. Hope you’ll get to visit more and see how beautiful this country is.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks! I remember that post by Ted — in fact, I commented on it at the time. It was a good read and I recommend it to anyone reading this!

  8. jana

    the photo is breath taking and indeed very stunning… nature is really beautiful and wonderful in its own way… and the picture speaks for itself.. i hope that i could see it personally..

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Jana – so much beauty in nature. We just don’t always stop and appreciate it as much as we should, I think.

  9. Luke

    Wow! It almost looks like painted ! Or like its straight from Lord of The Rings or other fantasy movie !

    Great ! Thanks for the share.

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