“cruise the black hills”
Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway (SD 240) may only be little ol' state two-lane road but this 31-mile stretch happens to pass through some of the most amazing buttes, cliffs and multi-colored spires of Badlands National Park. This makes Badlands Loop one of the most recognized in the county and consistently places it on "Top Ten" lists by many media outlets. Badlands National Park is like no place else (not even neighboring Badlands in the north, across the state border) on Earth and this road cuts directly through the middle of the north unit surrounding drivers, bikers and cyclists of SD 240 in a labryinth of wonderful landscape. Its roughly 38 miles contains numerous passes, 15 overlooks, eight trails to get and stretch on and a great visitor center. Don't miss the Big Badlands Overlook in the east or the Door, Window and Notch Trail turnoff just a few miles further south down the road; in the west, make sure to stop at the Pinnacles Overlook and the Yellow Mounds Overlook towards the western end of the loop road. To get there, if traveling west on I-90, take Exit 131 (Interior) and follow the signs directing vehicles south roughly three miles to the Northeast entrance of Badlands National Park. For those traveling east on I-90, take Exit 110 at Wall, South Dakota. Follow signs directing vehicles south approximately seven miles to the Pinnacles Entrance. From Rapid City, SD Hwy 44 provides a scenic back road to the park and meets up with SD HWY 377 in the town of Interior. Follow 377 two miles north to the Park's Interior Entrance.
Amazing way to take in the Badlands if you are in a road trip. I’ve been a few times but this past trip had a timeline to stick to so could only swing through. Loved this loop and getting a chance to stretch our legs while practicing social distancing.
The Badlands is a scenic national park similar to Bryce Canyon or the Painted Desert. It's mostly drive-through but with a dozen spots to hike around. Make frequent stops to get the most out of it. It's definitely worth doing if you're in the area but not quite a reason to hop state lines unless you are going to "rush" to any "more" national parks nearby.
Heads up! If you go here for the scenic loop. Take exit 131, not 121. Exit 131 takes you through the Badlands and you get to see more. Exit 131 off of interstate 90, trust me.
The beauty of the Badlands is something my unprofessional eye/camera could never capture. I am in awe every time. I just love the quiet massiveness of it all. We make a point to drive this every time we are in the area, even just passing through. This route allows you to stop and climb around or go for a hike. There are quick hikes as well as longer ones, so there's something for everyone.
Take your time. Enjoy the beauty. Don't rush (and don't ride anyone else's bumper.!!)
I was personally underwhelmed by the Badlands. It just doesn’t compare to other national parks in UT and surrounding states. Drive through if you are in the area but I wouldn’t make a special trip.
Definitely worth the drive! Even if you are just passing by on I-90, take the extra time to drive through. It is beautiful!
Beautiful Drive with many places to explore on foot. The scenery was breathtaking. When we we through, it was close to 100 degrees, so we only took advantage of one stopping point. BRING A CAMERA!
Beautiful place and breathtaking views! Multiple spots to stop and take on the sites, we started at exit 131 and ended at Hwy 44, we saw bison, big horn sheep, mountain goats,deer and prairie dogs. It was well worth the drive and would definitely recommend taking this drive!
What a beautiful place! There are multiple places to pull off and see the sights or hike around. I'm sooooo glad we went this way. It far exceeded my already high expectations.
Beautiful in the evening as the sun begins its descent over the horizon!
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Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway
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