After my trip through the National Parks I had dinner with one of my Aunts, she told me how one of her nieces had gone to Badlands National Park and didn’t really like it. It turns out she had done the National Parks in the opposite order I did them. It made me wonder what my impression would have been if I had not done Badlands as my first park.
I really liked Badlands National Park, my first impression was that it was a smaller, less dramatic and more muted (color wise) version of the Grand Canyon. I don’t mean that to put it down, it’s hard to live up to the reputation of the Grand Canyon and this wasn’t quite as great, but it was still spectacular. It was also HOT! But there were some beautiful landscapes here too.
After talking to my Aunt I thought about it in the context of having seen the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Bryce and Zion. And of those 5 parks, Badlands was the least exciting of them all. The colors were not as exciting as Bryce and Zion, the landscape wasn’t as varied as Yellowstone and it simply wasn’t as grand or majestic as the Grand Canyon. It’s still a great park, but a little lower on the list of the great parks.
What does this mean, should you skip it? No, I wouldn’t skip it. But I would suggest doing it before some of the other big named parks, or at least not on the same trip where the comparison is so easy.