Visit the Moonscape of the Badlands; both Tribal & National Parks
Where: Badlands Tribal and National Parks
Meeting Place: Usually Rapid City
Tribes: Oglala Lakota
Activity level: Very easy
Duration: 9 am-5pm
Split by political boundaries that separate the Lakota Badlands from the National Park Badlands, this entire area is known to Lakotas as Mako Sica. Tour this veritable geologist’s heaven and you will find that this land was seventy-five million years in the making (now eroding at the rate of an inch per year). Amid the multi-hued pinnacles and buttes you will explore a barren moonscape, seemingly impervious to life. Yet as inhospitable as the corrugated terrain sounds, the Badlands brutality is deceiving. Look with native eyes and you will see Prairie dogs twitch and chatter by their burrows like nervous commuters waiting for a late train, while buzzards, coyotes, hawks and bobcats hope it never arrives. Bighorn Sheep leap precariously over crumbling ledges on cliff walls and mule deer scour crevasses at dusk and dawn. On the mesas, antelope bucks groom themselves for impressionable does and, indifferent to their performances, the buffalo watch them all come and go. And here you will hear of the sheltering place in the Stronghold that those who survived the Wounded Knee Massacre fled to for survival.
About Your Day
Beginning from Rapid City you will take the back road onto the Pine Ridge Indian Resevation, your first glimpse of what will be the Badlands Tribal Park at an overlook where Native American artisits seel their rafts.
Enjoy the first breathtaking view, then continue across Cuny Table, listening for stories of the Stronghold.
After lunch at a Lakota eaterie, move on toward the National Park Badlands where, driving the scenic route you will stop at Bigfoot Pass and try to put yourself in the place of one of those who trekked the one hundred and fifty miles by pony and foot through the vagaries of that Dakota Territory winter.
Listen for the stories of the Spirit Prayer movement, and the fortitude of The People.
Learn about the indomitable spirit of the two-legged, four-legged and winged who survive here.