Badlands National Park and prairie dogs

Prairie dogs

Our first National Park on this road trip was Badlands National Park. Before we drove through the park, we stopped at a place where you can see a lot of prairie dogs, a type of ground squirrel. These little animals are fun to watch and are very curious. We stayed a little while to look at them, see them communicate with each other, and take some pictures. Patience (and food, they love peanuts) are the key for making nice pictures of them. Conveniently, you can buy peanuts at the little store where you park your car.

curious prairie dog badlands national park
A very curious prairie dog

The prairie dog eating

prairie dog

prairie dog

prairie dog

Badlands National Park

Then we headed off to Badlands National Park, in South Dakota. It consists of buttes, pinnacles, and spires mixed with grass prairie. It is the home of a number of animals, not only prairie dogs but also bighorn sheep, bison, and deer. This area was called ´mako sica´ by the Lakota Indians and ´les mauvaises terres à traverser’, both meaning bad lands.

You see immediately that the rocks have layers with different colors, caused by different sediments that were accumulated by the different environments over time. The layers at the bottom are the oldest (around 70 million years), while the layers at the top are the youngest (30 million years).

However, Badlands National Park not only consists of rock formations but also grass prairie. Over 400 different plant species grow here and each plant species is adapted to the extreme climate conditions: hot, cold, dry, windy, with floods, droughts, and fire.

We choose driving the scenic route through the park and stop at some places for admiring the different views.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

More information about Badlands National Park can be found here.

 Badlands national park and prairie dogs

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8 thoughts on “Badlands National Park and prairie dogs”

  1. hahah seem to remember all those prairie dogs when my parents road tripped through the badlands! Many years ago! Hope you made it to Corn Palace and Wall Drug 🙂 Beautiful scenery and hot springs. Will have to do again some day!

  2. Sharon, I love this! We are doing our own National Park tour this year, so this is right up our alley. I don’t think we’ll be getting to Badlands, but we just returned from Hawai’i where we visited Haleakala and Volcanoes NP. Every park is so unique and amazing. Your photos of the prairie dogs are so fun – great shots!

    -Carrick

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