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Backpacking in the Badlands

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  • Backpacking in the Badlands

    Do any of you have experience backpacking in the badlands?

    Our scouts want to do this for a high adventure this summer.

    From what I read about the Badlands National Park it seems it can be challenging. It sounds like there are few trails so travel requires good navigation skills. There is no water sources worthwhile filtering so you need to carry one gallon of water per person per day. It looks like the days are hot and can get cold at night.

    On the plus side there are excellent scenery, plenty of wildlife, and solitude.

  • #2
    I only visited with my family while passing through.
    But, my nephew nearly got lost on a day hike there.

    So yeah, navigation skills.


    • #3
      Some of our troop spent 1 night there this past summer. Roaming buffalo, snakes, cactus. Some of us less adventerous spent the night in the campground so cannot give 1st hand knowledge. The ones who went said they had an amazing time.


      • #4
        Depends on the specific dates but the days I remember were hot, really dry, nights frosty. Had to carry everything, lots and lots of water. It's not exactly the kind of 'garden spot' that makes for a great backpack trip, which is probably why the trails are sparse and not used as much as, say, Yosemite.

        I can't understand how anyone who can read a compass could get lost, you can see forever and there aren't many trees to obstruct views. OK, maybe head out without a compass, no map, no GPS, no communication device. Don't pay any attention to surroundings or landmarks. 'Lost' might be possible. Darwin awards await your nomination.

        Some of the trails are not used much and I suppose the person who has 'lost' genes could have trouble. They should stick to the roads...probably get lost there as well.

        Oh yeah, in reference to an earlier thread on what to take backpacking, don't forget to take plenty of firearms and really heavy ammunition to protect yourselves from a ferocious prairie dog or a lizard or something, maybe a hungry pot belly pig that got loose from someone's RV at the visitor center. Man, that would taste great on the trail. Seriously, the place is practically crawling with thieves and thugs, there are so many tourists in the back country to rob that it's practically a criminal's paradise...make sure to keep one eye over your shoulder and a finger on that trigger.

        If you see buzzards circling, just quietly accept your fate.
        Have a nice day.


        • #5
          Pack, this was pre-GPS. The boy had dropped out of scouts, so I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have a compass and only carried half the water he should have. I'll have to have him re-tell the story. He did get some great pictures.

          General question: what level of skill/experience do you require before you let a patrol navigate off-trail in an isolated area like this? Let's not factor in adults because even when they are there, my experience is that it's even odds that they will be a liability instead of an asset.

          Some of my boys are almost at a level where they could do this, but I'd like to know what you all'd expect before you'd give your approval.


          • #6

            I have no experience at the Badlands but just watched a short clip at The Live Well Network/Motion. Wow! The park looks beautiful, but hot and very arid with not a tree in site.


            • #7
              trails? don't need no stenkin' trails. In the Badlands you are free to hike cross country.

              You might also consider the badlands in North Dakota, or the Black Hills, which offers a more shaded environment. Perhaps combine both Badlands and Black Hills.(This message has been edited by venividi)