Badlands National Park South Dakota

The Badlands at dusk

“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.

National Parks South Dakota TRAVEL United States