Rock formations and a blue sky

Badlands Fossil Hunting

One of the things we like best about Badlands National Park in South Dakota is that visitors aren’t restricted to the trails. You can basically roam anywhere. And, while you’re exploring, be sure to keep an eye out for fossils.

Badlands rock formations against a blue sky with one white cloud

Badlands Fossil Hunting

Many types of fossils can be found in Badlands National Park. Previous finds include sea creatures, mammals, birds, reptiles, and of course, plants.

Evening sky at the Badlands with orange and yellow.

Where can you find fossils in the badlands? Just about anywhere. In fact, fossils have been found in this area for centuries.

Badlands rock formation with a purple  cloudy sky

We found a few fossils during our visit. It’s not impossible to find them, but it isn’t easy either. It takes a sharp eye and patience. The fossils we found were visible on the surface.

Fossil in the Badlands

As you might expect, if you find a fossil, you don’t get to keep it. Leave it where it is, and report it. The parks service has a form that visitors can use to report their finds.

Badlands Visitor Site Report Form

Even if you don’t find a fossil, you can check out the work in the Fossil Preparation Lab in the Visitor Center.

Fossil in the Badlands

Whether your a budding paleontologist or just having fun, Badlands National Park is a great place to get off the beaten path and hunt for fossils. Whether or not you find fossils, I’m sure you’ll enjoy new discoveries, both big and small.

Badlands with a rainbow

Heading to the Badlands? Check out these other posts:

Need more info on South Dakota travel? Check out my South Dakota page.

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