“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous”. – Aristotle

There are few things in life as spectacular as a sunset. Sunset tends to be my favorite time of day, as the light casts shadows and rays of brilliant, ever-changing colors across the horizon. It is hard to decide whether I prefer watching the sunset over water or land. Each has it own set of attributes and wonder.

The last day of our summer vacation to South Dakota was rewarded with a magical sunset over the Badlands. The utter, surreal beauty of this vast land of jagged buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires seemed to come to life as the sun set. Although it only lasted a short while, it was by far the highlight of our week-long trip.

Badlands National Park South Dakota

We left our hotel shortly after dinner and drove into the deserted Badlands National Park. Most of the day tourists had come and gone and we had the entire place to ourselves. It had cooled down to a delightful temperature, much more conducive to hiking than during the hot, shadeless afternoon scorch of July heat. Our only obstacle was time. We only would have an hour to hike until it was completely dark.

The views were astounding and the rock formations became even more colorful as the sun dipped further below the horizon. The deep maroon-hued rings of sediment became even more dramatic with sunset. During the daytime, you can hardly see them but at night the rocks looked like candy cane stripes.

Badlands National Park South Dakota

Badlands National Park South Dakota

It was so incredibly peaceful that evening. The only sound you could hear was the constant buzz of the mosquitos which believe it or not came out in masses at night.

As we set off along a short trail, I couldn’t resist stopping to take the dramatic scenery all in. Camera in hand, I snapped away marveling at the magical sight before my eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before in all my travels. The Badlands felt like they went on forever, and what was even more amazing is that they were below me, not above.



Badlands National Park South Dakota

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”. – Roald Dahl

As we walked in silence, we noticed a lone big horn sheep off in the distance. It was the first one we had seen in the park. I think he was enjoying the glorious sunset too.
Badlands National Park South Dakota

If you turned away from the sunset and looked back at the rocks, they were almost colorless. Even this landscape was unusual and surprising. It kind of reminded me of being someplace in the desert.


Unfortunately time was not in our hands. I would have loved to have hiked more but it was getting dark fast. It was time to head back to the hotel. Before we left I took two final shots of the beautiful Badlands. It is a place I will never forget.

Badlands National Park South Dakota

Badlands National Park South Dakota

It continues to amaze me what an incredible planet we have.  The world is worth preserving and protecting for future generations. It is too special to not do everything we can to save our planet.


  1. Great photos Nicole. The mere fact that someone named a place Badlands makes me want to visit it, and now that I’ve seen your photos I definitely have to go there!

      1. No I’ve never been to Yellowstone. My next trip to the US is going to have to be big, there are so many places I’ve said I’ll visit I’ll be hopping around all over the country! 🙂

    1. Thanks Alison! You are right. It is a big horn sheep. My embarrassment! I’ve got a terrible head cold and wasn’t thinking straight. I knew I wrote it wrong… Lol. Thanks for catching it! 🙂

  2. I love your photos and how you captured the light in layers! Beautiful. Nature never ceases to amaze me. It is such a fabulous way to ‘recharge’ and feel re energized after city life and or stress. I really enjoyed your writing as well!

  3. Love the line horn sheep and the landscapes. Beautifully captured especially the way the light is I layers on the hills. Enjoyed reading you. How do I sign up for your blog?

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