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Overview

Nature began sculpting the North Dakota Badlands some 65 million years ago, during the Paleocene era. Through the following geologic epochs, layers of vegetation turned into lignite coal; other plants became petrified. Ash from ancient volcanoes to the far west compacted into layers of blue clay. And embedded in the layers were fossils that told the history of the area. These fossils are on view today, including the bones of a giant crocodilian creature and lots of petrified wood. Today the park is a fabulous place for camping and taking in the grandeur of what was the Dakota Territory at the time of Roosevelt's first visit.

Nature began sculpting the North Dakota Badlands some 65 million years ago, during the Paleocene era. Through the following geologic epochs, layers of vegetation turned into lignite coal; other plants became petrified. Ash from ancient volcanoes to the far west compacted into layers of blue clay. And embedded in the layers were fossils that told the history of the area. These fossils are on view today, including the bones of a giant crocodilian creature and lots of petrified wood. Today the park is a fabulous place for camping and taking in the grandeur of what was the Dakota Territory at the time of Roosevelt's first visit.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Memorial Day through Labor Day. Although the park is open 24 hours a day, year round, some roads are impossible to use during winter. Wildflowers bloom in late April and May.