The Best South Dakota National Parks To Visit In 2022

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South Dakota national parks are full of adventure, history, and a good variety of astounding landscapes. From the glacial lakes and prairies within the northeast to the Black Hills and Badlands in the west, South Dakota displays scenic areas through a massive system of state and national parks.

While respective governments of that particular state own state parks, the national park service manages national parks, and they’re generally preserved environmental landscapes with some historical impact.

What is the National Park Service?

National Park Service (NPS) is a government agency that manages and maintains hundreds of national parks, monuments, historical sites, and different selected properties in the country. It was founded in 1916 to protect and spread more knowledge about preserving these historical sites in the country.

Whatever outside experience you are trying to find, whether or not it is exploring underground at parks like Wind Cave National Park or learning new information concerning native cultures at Smart Earth State Park, is often backdropped by a rugged beauty distinctive to the state of South Dakota’s national parks and state parks.

A few national parks in South Dakota might interest you, but which two national parks fare above the rest?

The Best National Parks in South Dakota

1. Wind Cave National Park

south dakota national parks
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Wind Cave national park is placed within the Blacks Hills National Forest simply south of Custer State Park. This national park is home to a variety of habitats. The prairie grass and forested hills landscape, concealing the advanced cave system, it’s one of the most enchanting national parks in South Dakota. With over one hundred forty miles of its passageways mapped, Wind Cave is one of the most extended cave systems within the country.

The name ‘Wind Cave’ was derived from the amendment in measuring instrument barometric winds pressure found at the little natural entrance to the cave.

If you wish to explore the underground labyrinth yourself, the sole thanks to exploring the spectacular passageways are one amongst several radio-controlled tours by tract ranger workers. They provide tours nearly daily year-round.

The different types of tours offered to cater to a good range of ages and skills. Most radio-controlled tours begin with an associate elevator ride twelve stories underground and proceed through the cave employing a cement pathway and electrical lights put in by the Civilian Conservation Corps within the Nineteen Thirties. Along any route, visitors can expect to check a novel earth science world full of dark corners, giant ceilings, and an embarrassment of cave speleothems.

The foremost distinctive speleothem in Wind Cave is that the Boxwork formation, that whereas long in Wind Cave, exists in few different caves worldwide.

2. Badlands National Park

brown and gray mountain ridge
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The landscape at this national park is crammed with spires, scoured buttes, and pinnacles. The Badlands National Park can be found in the southwestern part of the state and measures a little past 242,000 acres of expanse. The name ‘Badlands’ comes from the fact that there is no portable water anywhere, and the area is always dry year-round.

Ben Reifel Visitor Center is Badlands’ main visitor center, open year-round, giving out maps, along with various exhibits, a theater & a shop. Nearly one million tourists visit this park every year. This place is pet-friendly as long as you have them on a leash.

There are many things to do around the park so you won’t get bored even for a moment. You can go hiking, camping, and there are many picnic areas around the park as well. The beautiful sights around the Badlands national park are perfect for pictures.

Now that you know which are the best national parks in South Dakota, we should look at some of the best state parks. Many beautiful parks in South Dakota are well-suited to different people’s needs. Based on that, we’re sure you’ll find one to your liking.

Must-Visit State Parks In South Dakota

Apart from national parks, it would be best to consider visiting the state parks in South Dakota that are arguably equal in the beauty of the national parks in the state.

1. Palisades State Park

Located around the southeast corner of the state, Palisades State Park is considered to be a hot spot for hiking, camping, photography, and climbing.

It’s also a popular picnic spot as you can enjoy your time away from the city at one of their cabins provided with grilling areas and small supply stores for all your needs.

Jutting out from the bank of Split Rock Creek, The South Wall path is a simple half-mile hike that ends in a powerful scenic overlook of Split Rock Creek. With the correct gear and skills, you can additionally enjoy scaling the rock formations.

2. Hartford Beach State Park

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Around the glacial lake region of northeast South Dakota, Hartford Beach State Park is outlined by the spectacular section of the Warren watercourse called massive Stone Lake.

Water activities are enjoyed immensely at Hartford Beach State Park with fishing, boating, and swimming at a sandy beach. Additionally, five different hiking trails and a nine-hole disc link attract many land lovers to the park.

A particularly fascinating and accessible hike for all ages to try is visiting Hartford Beach State Park from the Village path. This informative path provides a glimpse of Yankee Indian Mounds and some way of life that dates back more abundant than our own.

3. Good Earth State Park Visitor Center

While Good Earth State Park is comparatively new to the South Dakota State Park system, the realm that it encompasses is not any trespasser to civilization. As a part of the larger Blood Run National Historic Landmark, Good Earth State Park pays tribute to at least one of the country’s oldest areas of human history.

From pre-colonial times, the land that includes sensible Earth State Park at Blood Run was once a thriving mercantilism center and resort for the Oneota peoples, together with Omaha, Ponca, Ioway tribes.

Today, you will learn additional regarding these autochthonal cultures through the 11,000-square-foot Visitor Center at the park. This visitor Centers options participating exhibits with historical artifacts and lifelike reproductions of the Oneota culture.

Six miles of ground and grassland hiking trails span from the Visitor Center, with instructive data lining the complete approach. Trails at sensible Earth State Park ultimately result in views of the large Siouan watercourse.

4. Bear Butte State Park

Located to the north of Black Hills National Forest, simply outside the motorcycle-friendly town of Sturgis, Bear Butte State Park and its human features still hold cultural significance for the native people of the state of South Dakota. The Mato Paha or Bear Mountain, Bear Butte stands spill one-thousand feet on top of the encompassing landscape.

A 1.85-mile summit path offers spectacular views and unequaled outlooks from the highest of the sacred mountain. Alongside roaming buffalo herds, the bear butte is home to the current yank Indian ceremonies and spirituality.

The state park operates a primitive bivouac, with fifteen sites out there close to the shores of Bear Butte Lake, across route seventy-nine from the mountain.

5. Custer State Park

South Dakota National parks to visit
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Custer State Park in South Dakota ranks as one of the largest state parks in the nation. This state park encompasses more than 71,000 acres within Black Hills National Forest. Alongside the scenic drives, an abundance of wildlife to view, and an eye-popping geological beauty, this park ranks high as one of the best tourist attractions in the state.

Any visit to Custer State Park will have you going in several directions. You’ll be fascinated by hiking trails, fishing spots, and some of the most effective campgrounds. This park in South Dakota is a must-visit if you’re around the area.

A primary visit will appear overwhelming with numerous things to try and a surface area to explore at Custer State Park. Guests additionally fancy participating in a very naturalist program at the Peter Norbeck doors Education Center or keeping a watch out for buffalo on the 18-mile wildlife viewing Loop Road.

6. Newton Hills State Park

In the southeast corner of the state in the city of Canton, thirty miles south of Sioux Falls, Newton Hills State Park encompasses a bit over 1,000 0000 acres of rolling hills and dense forest.

The park attracts a multitude of locals and tourists alike throughout the year to explore its scenic solid ground surroundings. Backpackers, bikers, and horse riders will relish most of the paths at Newton Hills through the six miles of Blue Diamond multi-use trails found sprawling near the city of Canton.

7. Fort Sisseton Historic State Park

Located atop the Coteau des Prairies within the northeast region of South Dakota State, seventy miles west of Hartford Beach State Park, Fort Sisseton was 1st established in the Dakota Territory within the decennium. You can find this state park in Lake City, a must-visit park for history lovers, and it’s perfect for a relaxing stroll.

Visitors to Fort Sisseton Historic State Park are encouraged to explore the various historical sites with a tour guide or on their own. A visitor center with more interpretative data is open daily.

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