A short overlook hike at the Northeast Entrance of Badlands National Park.

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8

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8

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4

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Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Easy

Description

Whether you're looking for a quick pit stop, or planning to tour Badlands National Park, the Big Badlands Overlook eagerly awaits at the park's Northeast Entrance.

Though it is one of the shortest overlook hikes in Badlands, this 30-minute round-trip walk offers awe-inspiring views to the east, showcasing the majestic geological formations the Badlands are known for. To begin this hike, take Exit 131 on Interstate 90 and head south to the Northeast Entrance.

This short walk begins at a trailhead with adequate parking for trailers and larger RV's, but there are no facilities available.

Consider an early start during the summer months since afternoon temperatures can climb well above 100-degrees. If you have the time, consider stopping by the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site & Visitor Center before you enter the park.

It's located on the northwest corner of the exit and easily accessible.

A remnant of the Cold War Era, "a vast arsenal of nuclear missiles" formerly occupied the Great Plains and the "threat of destruction acted as a deterrent to enemies while paradoxically preserving an uneasy peace," according to the [NPS](https://www.nps.gov/mimi/what-is-so-special-about-this-place.htm). Though no longer in operation, nearly all of the missile silos in South Dakota were decommissioned as late as the 1990's.

The Historical Site protects two remaining facilities and offers plenty of educational tours and exhibits regarding this dark and ominous era of American history.

Even if a trip to Badlands wasn't planned, visiting this site is a must -- and the views from Big Badlands are just a short drive south into the park. Please note that Badlands National Park does require an entrance fee.

[Check here](https://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/fees.htm) for the current rates.

Dogs are not allowed on any of the hiking trails within the park, though they are permitted in the campgrounds or other developed areas as long as they are leashed.

Source: https://www.nps.gov/mimi/what-is-so-special-about-this-place.htm