A Good Hat in Badlands

The moment I put on a Stetson, Bello said “that’s the one.” Is it possible cowboy hats are a bit like a wedding dresses or wizard’s wands. Do good hats pick you?

Whatever the case may be, make sure you bring a hat, any hat that throws shade when visiting Badlands National Park.

Stetsons a must in the Badlands
Stetsons a must in the Badlands

With not a cloud in the sky, the words “Blazin’ Hot” rings true here. Petrified earth cracks and crumbles under the full heat of the Sun.

Cracked Earth at the Badlands
Cracked Earth at the Badlands

244,000 acres demand a long day of exploration. Hikes provide a break from the tourist shuffle but not a lick of shade.

Mixed-Grass Prairie Badlands
Mixed-Grass Prairie at Prairie Winds Overlook, Badlands

Walks are worth it for any photographer though. From the White River Valley Overlook.

White River Valley Overlook, Badlands
White River Valley Overlook, Badlands

To the rainbow hues of Yellow Mounds Overlook.

Yellow Mound Overlook, Badlands
Yellow Mound Overlook, Badlands

One of the things I loved most about the Badlands National Park in South Dakota, is that it’s not overly touristy. Which does mean, you won’t be able to swoop into a shop easily once you’re in the park.

Planning ahead will save you the drive back out to Wall Drug. Trust me, this is a joke you’ll get after driving to the Badlands.

Wall Drug Wants You
Wall Drug Wants You

A tip for the “casual hiker” make sure to enter the Castle Trail hiking paths from the Fossil Exhibit Trail.

Washes of White, Badlands
Washes of White, Badlands

Otherwise, the stop just before and after the Cedar Pass Lodge… get steeper. Like, there is a sign up board for hikers at the entrance of the trails, you know, just in case, kinda steeper.

In this section of the park, you’ll find Sharps Formations peaking into the skies that date back 28-30 Million years. Hiking through these is a must, but again, no shade. Hat, sunscreen, water, check!

Sharps Formation in the Badlands
Sharps Formation in the Badlands

Chances are good you’ll see the parks wildlife. Well yes, the little guys like this Praying Mantis but also the big guys.

Mantis Perch in the Badlands
Praying Mantis Perch in the Badlands

Bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs even black-footed ferrets, we saw them all. Without proper long lens though, catching a shot worth sharing is tricky.

Rising Color, Badlands South Dakota
Rising Color & Wildlife of Badlands South Dakota

What you didn’t see those bighorns? Waldo can be easier to spot.

Spot the Wildlife in Badlands
Spot the Wildlife in Badlands

When it comes to finding the best spot to watch the Sunset in the Badlands skip the first stop at the Pinnacles Overlook. Stop just seconds later at the second one. Far fewer people drive to the second stop.

We got there at Dusk, just as the mixed-grass prairie started glowing.

Dusky Skies in the Badlands
Dusky Skies in the Badlands

We spotted the Moon’s rise.

Rising Moon in the Badlands
Rising Moon in the Badlands

just as the Sun began to fall over Pinnacles Overlook.

The Badlands at Dusk
The Badlands at Dusk

Here’s the final tip. The secret my Husband shared with me years ago. Stick around for a good twenty minutes after sunset.

Yes, the moment the Sun kisses the horizon is very romantic but the best Sunset colors are sky. They don’t rise until all the other tourists have left for dinner.

Sunset on the Horizon Badlands
Sunset on the Horizon Badlands

Like these tips or travel pics? It’s a huge compliment to share them. Here’s a one click Tweet for you.

I’ll be sharing all our favorite stops from last week’s Cross-Country Road Trip including many National Parks. We’d love for you to relive the journey with us here on ALOR, Twitter: @ALORGypsyTip or on Instagram.

If you’re curious about how we got started as Location Independent Nomads we’re spilling the beans on how we can afford it in our Gypsy Tips.

Happy Travels,

Piccola & Bello

ALOR in the Badlands
ALOR in the Badlands

 

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s