Badlands National Park preserves over 240,000 acres of prairie grassland, sandstone spires, and stunning rock formations in southwestern South Dakota. The park is somewhat remote, with few major cities in close proximity to its borders.
Badlands is also unique in the fact that it’s managed by both the National Park Service as well as the Oglala Lakota Tribe, which manages what is known as the South Unit. Given the large size and unique geography of the park, it is especially important to have a good sense of where you plan to visit and what you’d like to see.
To help with this, we’ve created this complete guide to all of the Badlands National Park maps you’ll need to ensure you don’t waste time figuring out how to get from point A to B and can instead enjoy your trip to this incredible national park.
Let’s get started.
In this Post
- Where is Badlands National Park?
- Badlands National Park Maps
- Getting to Badlands National Park
Where is Badlands National Park?
Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota, approximately 1 hour east of Rapid City. The park can generally be divided into the North and South Units, with the North Unit being the more frequently visited section of the park.
In addition, Badlands National Park also includes a small “island” of land that is not contiguous with the main park. Known as the Palmer Creek Unit, this section of the park sits entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Check out the overview map below to get a general sense of the location of Badlands National Park.
Zooming in a bit from the high-level overview provided above, you’ll see on the map below that Badlands National Park has several other public lands close by, including Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
You can also see that there are several small towns that provide access to the various sections of the park, with the main entrance points being the towns of Scenic, Wall, and Interior, SD.
Badlands National Park Maps
The following sections contain all the map resources you’ll need to plan your perfect trip to Badlands National Park. We’ve compiled maps from the National Park Service as well as created a few of our own to help supplement what the park service provides.
Badlands National Park Brochure Map
The park brochure map provides a nice general orientation to Badlands National Park and is useful for getting a sense of where the main attractions are located. Use it to help organize your trip, understand distances in the park, and think about where you may want to stay during your visit.
Detailed maps of the Cedar Pass area of Badlands National Park
Most visitors will start their trip to the Badlands by stopping at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, which serves as the park headquarters. This frequently visited section of the park also includes the main campground, the start of the Badlands Loop Road, and several popular hikes.
For those interested in exploring the Cedar Pass section of the park, we recommend checking out the following:
Badlands National Park Campground Map
For those interested in camping during their visit to Badlands National Park, we’ve put together a complete guide below.
We’ve also created the map below to give you a sense of where the park’s two main campgrounds are located.
In addition, the NPS also provides a helpful map of the popular Cedar Pass Campground, as shown below.
Getting to Badlands National Park
Most visitors will travel to the Badlands by taking Interstate 90, which runs just north of the national park. From here, you’ll have easy access to the Pinnacles Entrance from the town of Wall as well as the Northeast Entrance from State Highway 240.
For those coming from the south, Highway 44 brings visitors to the town of Interior and the main park headquarters. Highway 44 continues west from here to the town of Scenic, which provides access to the South Unit in Badlands.
Use the Google Map below to get directions from your specific location to Badlands National Park:
Main park entrances
Badlands National Park has four main entrances conveniently located throughout the park. These include:
- Interior Entrance: The main entrance to the park.
- Northeast Entrance: Easily accessed from I-90 and close to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.
- Pinnacles Entrance: Accessed from the town of Wall, the Pinnacles Entrance provides access to the Sage Creek Area.
- White River Entrance: The only entrance to the South Unit and the White River Visitor Center.
Getting around Badlands National Park
Finally, it is important to have a sense of the main roads through the park and how they connect to the various sections of the Badlands.
The Badlands Loop Road is the main thoroughfare through the North Unit of Badlands National Park. Connecting the the main visitor center with the Pinnacles Overlook, this winding road takes visitors through much of the most stunning scenery that the Badlands have to offer.
Sage Creek Rim Road continues west from where the Badlands Loop Road ends near the Pinnacles Overlook. The road is unpaved, so travel can be slow going at times. The Sage Creek Rim Road will bring visitors to the less-visited sections of the Badlands where you’re likely to encounter some of the wildlife that call the park home.
Have a great trip!
That’s it! We hope these mapping resources for Badlands National Park have given you an overview of this incredible landscape. Let us know of any other maps you’d like to see in the comments below!