There’s a Frank Lloyd Wright quote about Badlands National Park in South Dakota that has stuck with us. It describes this otherworldly place perfectly: “I was totally unprepared for that revelation called the Dakota Bad Lands…what I saw gave me an indescribable sense of mysterious elsewhere—a distant architecture, ethereal…an endless supernatural world more spiritual of the earth but created out of it.”
The unpredictable formations springing from the Great Plains lend themselves to loads of scenic viewpoints that come alive during sunset. The bands of color in the walls of the Badlands make for intriguing hikes through geologic history, as well as being a hotbed for fossils.
It’s a distinctly inspiring national park that could easily make for a unique family day trip, or an extended adventure for backpackers (just be prepared for encounters with buffalo). It’s also not far from Rapid City, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and kitschy-cute Wall Drug.