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5 Badlands National Park Boondocking Stops

Badlands Boondocking Locations

In this post you will find our favorite 5 Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations. Much of the badlands area is designed for tent camping but small RV’s fit in as well.

Introduction: Why Visit the Badlands National Park

Boondocking is camping without water, sewer, or electricity. Unlike typical campgrounds that are similar to a small community, these areas off seclusion. They provide simple spots to set up a tent or park an RV but nothing more.

This park is over 244000 acres of geological wonders, fossil beds. Various animals live in the park, including bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets.

One of the best reasons to seek Badlands Park Boondocking Locations is that they are near various idyllic locations like underground caves and hot springs. Just remember, when you visit, make sure you don’t leave trash at the campsite. After all, visitors from all over the world enjoy Badlands Park Boondocking Locations.

5 Badlands National Park Boondocking Stops

History of the Badlands National Park

The park in southwestern South Dakota; inhabited for over 11,000 years. South Dakota’s Badlands are more than 244,000 acres of cliffs, pinnacles, and spires intermixed with the largest protected mixed-grass prairie in the United States, are steeped in myths, gold mining, and ghost towns.

How to Get To the Badlands National Park

Many Badlands National Park Boondocking locations are scattered on the perimeter of the park. The park is approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Rapid City and 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of Minneapolis.

The park has two major roads; I-90 goes through the park’s North Unit before heading back up to I-90. Sage Creek Rim Road, also Highway 590, is a dirt or gravel road that follows the Badlands Wilderness on the park’s western side. The roads meet inside the park’s Pinnacles Entrance.

Badlands National Park

Top 5 Boondocking Spots in Badlands National Park

1. Badlands National Park Boondocking Spots – Within 10 Miles From BNP: Bombing Range Road

Address
Bombing Range Road
Scenic, South Dakota
GPS: 43.712661, -102.520852
Elevation: 2805′

Management – Public – Forest Service

Free Dispersed camping in the Nebraska National Forest’s Wall Ranger District. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served.

Activities:

Wildlife Viewing

2. Badlands Overlook - Buffalo Gap National Grasslands 1 Badlands National Park

2. Badlands National Park Boondocking Spots -Badlands Overlook – Within 10 Miles From BNP:Buffalo Gap National Grasslands

Address
Wall, South Dakota
GPS: 43.890031, -102.226789
Elevation: 3047′

Management – Public – National Park Service

You may stay two weeks (14 days) at Badlands Overlook – Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.

There is boon docking that overlooks the Badlands just south of Wall on Hwy 240. It is on Buffalo Gap National Grasslands just before the fee booth into the Badlands. On your left, you will see gently rolling hills and a couple of tall cell towers in a field. There are a couple of entrances into the pasture – if a gate is shut, just be sure to re-shut. Beautiful spot!!!

Activities:

Wildlife Viewing

2. Badlands Overlook - Buffalo Gap National Grasslands 2 2. Badlands Overlook - Buffalo Gap National Grasslands 3

3. Badlands National Park Boondocking Spots – Within 10 Miles From BNP: French Creek Campground

Address
E French Creek Rd. Fairburn, SD
Fairburn, South Dakota
GPS: 43.6622, -103.0227
Elevation: 2898′

Management – Public – Forest Service

The road in is Dirt. There are 6-15 campsites at this location.

Campground has 8-10 tent sites in a fenced area. Vault toilet and garbage cans are in this area. There is parking in front of the tent area for cars/trucks and across the road for RV’s or horse trailers.

Very busy spot for rockhounds with agate beds within walking distance.

The FS website states that it is a fee area but I was there a week and there was no instructions to pay.

Amenities:

Fire Ring
Picnic Tables
Restrooms
Trash Cans

2. Badlands Overlook - Buffalo Gap National Grasslands 4 3. French Creek Campground 2 Badlands National Park

4. Badlands National Park Boondocking Spots – Within 10 Miles From BNP: Sage Creek Campground

Address
Sage Creek Road
Wall, South Dakota
GPS: 43.894085, -102.414063
Elevation: 2549′

Management – Public – National Park Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel and 13 miles from a paved road. Sage Creek Campground is open Year Round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 18′. You may stay 14 days at Sage Creek Campground.

This “primitive camping” area in Badlands National Park caters to tent  campers, but it can accommodate smaller RVs. The road makes big loop with parking all around the inside, and tent sites and picnic tables in the middle. Bison wander the area grazing. There is an area designated for horse use. An 18′ foot limit has been placed on RVs.

Amenities:

Pets Welcome
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

Activities:

RV Parking
Tent Camping
Hiking
Horse Trails
Wildlife Viewing

4. Sage Creek Campground 1 Badlands National Park 4. Sage Creek Campground 4. Sage Creek Campground 4. Sage Creek Campground

5. Badlands National Park Boondocking Spots – Within 10 Miles From BNP: Badlands National Park South

Address
Porcupine, South Dakota
GPS: 43.563956, -102.888019
Elevation: 3196′

Management – Public – National Park Service (Official)

The road in is Dirt. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 45 feet. Southwest edge of the Badlands National Park, in a small area where the Park touches BIA-41. There is a small 100′ by 100′ area of mowed grass that over looks the Badlands.

Activities:

RV Parking
Tent Camping

5. Badlands National Park South 5. Badlands National Park South 5. Badlands National Park South 4. Sage Creek Campground

Alternate Boondocking Sites to Search

Although you’ll find many sites to choose, these are some of the best Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations.

Black Hills National Forest

There are plenty of places to camp. However, they do have a few regulations; 100 miles from the water, half a mile from any marked campsite, and 300 feet from the road.

Buffalo Gap National Grassland

This location is close to the town of Wall and features the Badlands overlook, a grassy area with a stunning panoramic view. Of all the Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations, this is the most picturesque.

Little White River Recreation Area

It is the only area in the La Creek Wildlife Refuge that offers spots for camping. All of the sites are along the river, approximately 11 miles from the town of Martin, a great area to pitch a tent if you love fishing. Bright-colored clothing is recommended because it’s a favorite spot during hunting season.

Camping in these Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations is free, although there is a $30 entrance fee for the park. It is recommended, you check with the forest service during busy seasons to make sure spots are still available.

Badlands Park

Things to Do in Badlands Park

Although you’ll find many sites to choose, these are some of the best Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations.

When looking for Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations, it’s good to consider the sites around you. For example,

Drive The Loop

This scenic route along Highway 240 will take you through some of the park’s most stunning locations, giving you to get a true sense of the place all without leaving your car.

Roberts Prairie Dog Town

This stop is just inside the main gate. You can feed Prairie Dogs, especially fun if you have kids. Who knows, you may see bison or an antelope.

Take In the Sunrise, Sunsets and the Moon At Night

Since you’re in the middle of nowhere, relaxing at one of Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations, the enchantment of a sunrise or stargazing might add to your relaxation. Wildlife is something you’re sure to see while one of Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations. Buffalo and Prairie dogs abound, but you might catch a glimpse of a black-footed ferret. You can either take a scenic drive or take a hike on one of the park’s numerous trails.

Badlands Park trail

Top Trails to Hike at the Badlands Park

Castle Trail

This 11-mile out-and-back trail takes you into the heart of the park’s iconic formations and prairies. Take the spur trail towards Saddle Pass and climb up one of two vistas.

Fossil Exhibit Trail-

The Badlands once were part of the sea. This historic trail hike is one thing to do while camping in Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations to enjoy the Fossil Exhibit Trail.

Door Trail

is a quarter-mile-long stroll along a scenic boardwalk. It’s ideal in the early morning hours to avoid crowds. However, if you’ve found one of Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations, a little company might be nice.

Badlands Park

How Much Time Do You Need For Your Visit

Two days will give you enough time to see everything in the park. Since you’ve found one of the idyllic Badlands  Park Boondocking Locations, you may want to stay longer and enjoy the majesty of the location.

Accommodations and Dining Near the Badlands Park

If you’ve run out of propane at one of your Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations, there are a few great restaurants.

Wall Drug Cafe

The most extensive collection of private art resides here. Additionally, it is an excellent spot for coffee, donuts, and 5 cent coffees.

Cedar Pass Lodge

The historic restaurant is in the heart of The Badland and offers a fantastic view during your meal.

Several hotels are nearby if the weather turns bad at one of the Badlands National Park boondocking spots.

Badlands Park

Best Time to Visit the Badlands National Park

When searching for Badlands National Park, each location may have different seasons when busier or closed. The park recommends early September as the best month for camping in one of its many Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations. Since the weather fluctuates so much, you may have a great experience any time of the year.

Badlands Park

What to Pack For Your Visit To the Badlands National Park

Before selecting one of the scenic Badlands National Park Boondocking locations, make sure you have a camp stove since open fires are prohibited. Portable water is another must, although some Badlands National Park Boondocking Locations have limited access. Additionally, you may want to consider a generator since none of the sites have power.

Standard camping gear, sunscreen, and bug spray are probably already in you your backpack. One of the downsides of being at one of Badlands Park  is Rattlesnakes; just in case, pack a snake bite kit. The Badlands is notorious for being a place of extremes, so it’s good to pack clothing for all types of weather, including rain gear; don’t forget comfortable shoes. Get ready; you’re going on an adventure to one of Badlands Boondocking locations. Enjoy your trip.

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