Size: 242,756 Acres

Year Established: 1978

Annual Visitors: 1.22 Million

Firearms Information in Badlands National Park

For those who are eligible to do so under federal, state, and local law, the federal statute makes it possible to bring firearms into the park.

Uncased firearms are not permitted. Outside of approved Shooting Ranges, firearms larger than a 22-caliber, air guns, BB guns, slingshots, and paintball guns are not permitted in the any South Dakota parks.

Hunting in Badlands National Park

When you are in Badlands National Park, you cannot hunt.

Additional Information About Badlands National Park

The local Lakota people referred to the area as Mako Sica (which translates to “terrible land”), and Colonel George Custer described it as “hell with the fires put out.” The Great Plains appear burnt and eerily desolate in this area. Out of the ground come buttes, spires, and mesas. After being battered by the elements for hundreds of millions of years, the sedimentary stone that makes up their ridges has been reduced to a series of gray and orange bands.

Even though it appears to be empty, there are actually many different kinds of creatures living in that area. Bison and nervous prairie dogs roam the fields and hide beneath them in the Badlands, which is home to the biggest area of blue grama and buffalo grass fields in the United States. And the critically endangered black-footed ferret calls that area home, too.

In 2020, scientists led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service successfully cloned a black-footed ferret from the cells of an individual that had died more than 30 years before, bringing the total number of living ferrets to just 300. Elizabeth Ann is her name, and her parents are hoping that she and additional infants conceived in this way will help diversify the human gene pool.

Best Time to Visit Badlands National Park

The best time to visit Badlands National Park is between the months of April to May and September to October.

Visitor Fees

$30.00 per vehicle for up to 7 consecutive days

$15.00 per Individual for up to 7 consecutive days

$25.00 per Motorcycle for up to 7 consecutive days

$55.00 per Badlands National Park Annual Pass

Interesting in visiting multiple National Parks this year?

Consider the America The Beautiful Annual Park Pass.

This annual park pass to gets you and some friends into all U.S. National Parks for $80.
They also offer Senior, Military, and other discounts.

Visitor Centers

Ben Reifel Visitor Center


25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750

Phone Number

(605) 433-5361

Hours of Operation

Daily 9:00 AM–4:00 PM

White Ridge Visitor Center


Porcupine, SD 57772

Phone Number

(605) 455-2878

Hours of Operation (April through September)

Daily 9:00 AM–5:00 PM

Be sure to check for seasonal closures.