Brilliant Badlands

The minute we drove into the east entrance at Badlands National Park I knew it was going to be special. I felt a resurgence of my childhood wonder & giddiness.

A sea of multi-colored spires jutted out from the landscape to create a beautiful & otherworldly backdrop. The 1.5 mi Notch trail was the perfect warm-up. The true test snuck up on us about halfway, as a rudimentary ladder was the only gateway to the upper trail of this rocky paradise. Rickety but sturdy. Scary but doable. Exhilarating…..I took an extra deep breath & charged upwards.

COURAGE to face my wildest fears & overcome any obstacle…. on this mountain, along this journey & in this one crazy life that we have.

My dad and I also drove the winding rim road in complete awe of our surrounds. We weaved in and out of sharp cliffs and colorful hill sides. A buffalo even came charging towards our car in search of water. Totally mesmerizing. And then came sunset and it is one of my top ten of all time….. can you imagine standing at the top of these majestic, multi-colored mounds to see a fireball in the sky lighting up everything in existence as far as the eye could see? If I could make time stand still, this would have been one of those perfect moments.

Go experience it for yourself, then smile a little wider & know “you got this” – the next step could be all your dreams coming true. 🧡💪💜💪💚💪

Update April 2021: On another epic road trip, I made sure to add a day specifically in the Badlands to revisit some of my favorite trails & add a few new ones to the list too. The notch trail didn’t disappoint again, as I added on a bunch of side cutoffs to even crazier and more dramatic viewpoints. I also found another blow your mind trail at the southern trailhead of Saddlepass. At only .25 miles, be prepared to climb straight uphill to the top of “the Wall” and enjoy a few minutes to just peer out from the peak of this outdoor lover’s paradise! And finally my last impression was 2 buffalos grazing immediately next to the “leaving the Badlands” sign, so I pulled off to the side for a few extra minutes to just watch these beautiful creatures and savor a couple more minutes of solitude.

Published by elliottcm

Love adventure travel, work hard & play hard, happy in both extremes - relaxing on a remote beach or rappelling down cliffs, take joy in simple things, love being on & near the water, visited 55 countries & 47 states so far in this crazy beautiful life! Goals by my 50th birthday - 50 states. 75 countries. 50 national parks. Be in Antarctica on my big day.

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