Badlands National Park - 2005    
and Prairie Homestead

Updated: 11/09/08

Badlands National Park

Prairie Homestead


Badlands National Park

We visited the Badlands National Park on our way home from Alaska. While we were here 35 years ago, our route home took us close enough for a revisit. 


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The green mesas accent the rugged landscapes of Badlands National Park. There are nine scenic overlooks and short nature trails throughout the park. The Visitor Center is open all year round. The Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, near Wall, SD showcases spectacular scenery during the 39 mile drive.



w bnp ante and deer 002.jpg (43648 bytes)We entered from the west entrance. These four-legged greeters were the only wildlife was saw in the park. Because we started our drive on the loop road late in the afternoon, you will notice shadows in some of the photographs. The loop road take you close to and into beautiful terrain. We did not remember being this close on our first visit. 

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The colors of the rock were striking. 


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Interesting shapes were everywhere.


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At times, you could walk out for a closer look.


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Mary Lou wasn't as brave as it may look. It was an easy walk.

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Views over the plains could be seen from many of the overlooks.


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Sometime the plains/mesas type terrain was on what is called the 'wall'. The 'wall' extended for a considerable distance and made travel by early settlers difficult. 


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Mary Lou didn't want to step into the "U" shaped ledge. After Fred walked over, stood on the ledge, it was a good photo-op.


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And, she had no interest in
retrieving somebody's hat.

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It looked like a nice hat.



It was getting dark as we drove the last part of the loop road. The campground we were heading for was close to the west entrance to the park.


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But, it gave us an opportunity to see a beautiful sunset.


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We arrived at the campground (dry camping) just as the full moon was rising. 


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w bnp picnic tables 272.jpg (29528 bytes)In the morning, Fred made a photograph of one of the picnic table with a wind deflector. The wind on the prairie is a constant thing. This design helps keep things on the table. The fact that they were all set in the same direction told you something about the prevailing wind - always blowing and always from the same direction. 





w bnp hh in front 298.jpg (17454 bytes)The final turnout we used presented a nice photo-op for the HHII, rock and plains.







Admission to the park is $20 unless you have a senior (over 62) discount card. Allow at least four hours so you can stop at all the overlooks and not miss a great view. If you hike the many trails, more time is required. 




Prairie Homestead - just outside the east entrance to the Badlands National Park, is the original home of Mr. & Mrs. Ed Brown. The 160 acre property was homesteaded in 1909. The homestead is preserved as though a family was living there today. A small portion of the furnishings is original, the rest typical of the Sodbusters in this area.


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w sod h greeter.jpg (44244 bytes)This guy met us on the porch of the visitor center.

He provided a recorded introduction to the attraction.





In the grub box are displayed some of the Brown's household items.
It is the original grub box they brought west with them.

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Many signs told the story of the items.






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Sod brick walls . . .                               Clay floor . . .



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When more room was needed, a deserted claim shed was added to the sod house. It has a wood floor and linoleum.


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Barnyard . . .                                 Agricultural kettle . . .



The homestead has the only white prairie dog town in the world. It all started in 1966 when they obtained one white male from the Oglala Sioux tribe.


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The admission fee of $4 per person gave you unlimited time to walk the grounds. Allow a little more than an hour to see the introductory video and grounds. Gifts and food for the prairie dogs are also available for sale.




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