The Badlands of South Dakota make up possibly one of the most unique wild places in North America. It’s almost hard to believe that more than 30 million years ago, when this land mass was covered with tall, beautiful trees and prairie grasses, this was the land where great dinosaurs roamed. It created one of the most spectacular landscapes, second to none in North America. Photo: Pixabay
The Badlands are made up of colourful high-rising pinnacles of clay, and deep valleys with small lakes and abundant vegetation. Although it may seem as desolate at first glance, this is the hand of nature, uninterrupted by modern obstructions, spread out to the horizon until land meets sky.
The Badlands are surrounded by tall pine trees, which stretch from the scenic hillsides. The small lakes are teeming with trout, ready to be caught by the fisherman’s hook and line. In many places, the land is covered with both prehistoric bones and living wild animals. More than 160 square miles of this unique beauty has been set aside to form part of the United States Nationall Parks system. It remains part of the country’s premiere collections of natural treasures.
The South Dakotas hold the history of earliest gold rush days of the United States. Twenty-three miles south of Rapid City are the high granite hills bearing the likenesses of American presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Jewell Cave National Park is one of the wonders of the world. Here, you are taken 290 feet below the surface to discover 110 miles of underground passageways. Back within the mountains are numerous underground caves and caverns that are more than 60 million years old, many featuring crystal formations that will hold you in awe.
The Black Hills National Forests contains 1.2 million acres of public lands, loaded with bike and horse trails. In total, there are 11,000 reservoirs, 30 campgrounds, two scenic byways, 1,300 miles of streams, 10,00 acres of wilderness and 465 miles of trails. And that’s just above ground. Below ground are the enchanted Black Hills caverns and caves, including the stunning Wonderland Cave.