Lt. Col. George Custer visited the Badlands in 1876 and compared them to “a part of Hell with the fires burned out.” Nearly a century later, architect Frank Lloyd Wright toured the rugged landscape and he had a very different perspective: “Here, for once, came complete release from materiality. Communion with what man often calls ‘God’ is inevitable in this place…”. Decide for yourself who was right. Badlands National Park is hellaciously huge (some 400 square miles), with two visitor centers, a quite civilized loop road and lots of dirt trails and hiking paths. The Badlands are an amazing experience at high noon on a sunny day, but the eroded spires and pinnacles are truly spectacular as the sun rises and sets, and before and after storms. Stargazers visit after dark because there is so little light population.
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