Badlands National Park is a wonderful and colorful eroded landscape. While the park has much to offer for outdoor enthusiasts some of the most scenic spots are found while driving the Badlands Loop Road through the heart of the park. This amazing road cuts through the Badlands Wall, dropping into the valley below, and climbing back to the top through the eroded formations. There are a lot of gorgeous overlooks and pullouts to choose from along the way. These are the top 9 best overlooks in Badlands National Park.
Beyond the Badland Overlooks
This post is all about the best overlooks in Badlands National Park. If you are looking for more ideas on what to see and do while visiting this amazing park in South Dakota check out our guide to the top 7 not-to-be-missed activities in and near the Badlands.
Top 9 Best Overlooks in Badlands National Park(East to West)
- Big Badlands Overlook
- Norbeck Pass
- White River Valley Overlook
- Panorama Point Overlook
- Burns Basin Overlook
- Homestead Overlook
- Conata Basin Overlook
- Yellow Mounds Pullout
- Pinnacles Overlook
1) Big Badlands Overlook
The Big Badlands Overlook is the first stop on a tour from east to west across Badlands National Park. It is one of the largest viewpoints in the park with the eroded formations flowing out from the overlook in nearly every direction. The colorful landscape stretches out further than at any other viewpoint found in the park. This sprawling overlook is beautiful any time of day but it is perhaps the best one to watch the sunrise. Its overwhelming perch of 270º views also makes it an equally great spot to watch the sunset.
2) Norbeck Pass Pullout
There is a small pullout found on the west side of the Badlands Loop Road while climbing up Norbeck Pass. It isn’t on the park’s map but it provides a stunning overlook of the jagged badland formations. You can see a van pulled out in the image above. The drive up and over the Badlands Wall at Norbeck Pass is one of the most beautiful sections found in the park.
3) White River Valley Overlook
The White River Valley Overlook is a beautiful one where the eroded formations overwhelm the landscape. It is a very cool viewpoint with the lower formations carving up the terrain and creating a colorful maze below. To add to the beauty, the Castle Formation of the Badlands Wall rises above the maze just to the east.
4) Panorama Point – The Best Overlooks in Badlands National Park
Panorama Point lies in a bend in the Badlands Wall. The overlook is an awesome view looking down the erosive landscape into the valley below. This is another great vantage point looking back east at the Castle Formation and a good option for watching the last rays of light kiss the formation as the sun sets.
5) Burns Basin Overlook
Beyond Panorama Point the Badlands Loop Road passes through a long section of prairie grass atop the Badlands formation. This is a great section to keep your eyes peeled for prairie dogs, pronghorns, and bison. The Burns Basin Overlook is a great spot to stop as the road crosses over the prairie grass and take in how the grass gives way to the erosive badlands shelf. It is a beautiful view.
6) Homestead Overlook
The Homestead Overlook is one of my favorite viewpoints for looking down the long erosive Badlands shelf. It is stunning how the long stretch of prairie grass flows directly to the edge of the wall and then the exposed landscape flows into the valley below.
7) Conata Basin – The Best Overlooks in Badlands National Park
The Yellow Mounds area of Badlands National Park is one of the prettiest areas. It’s mostly white and subtle red hues give way to a much more vibrant yellow layer. The Conata Basin Overlook is the first and best chance to glimpse this sprawling landscape from an aerial perspective before the Badlands Loop Road meanders through it.
8) Yellow Mounds Pullout
Beyond the Yellow Mounds Overlook and Conata Road, the Badlands Loop Road climbs through the colorful terrain highlighted by a yellow base layer. There is a small pullout on the south side of the road (left) that has the best views of the Yellow Mounds section of the park. It is located prior to reaching the Ancient Hunters Overlook and is far better than the official Yellow Mounds Overlook. This small pullout leaves you feeling immersed in the wilderness environment without ever leaving the road.
9) Pinnacles Overlook
The Pinnacles Overlook is arguably the best scenic view in Badlands National Park. The western entrance to the Badlands Loop Road is named Pinnacles after this area of the park. It is an awesome place to watch the sunset on the sprawling colorful badland formations. It is also a very good place to look for Bighorn Sheep. We routinely found them at the overlook or very close by during our visit.
The Best Overlooks in Badlands National Park
At a size of 244,000 acres, Badlands National Park takes up a massive area of South Dakota. The engineers of the Badlands Loop Road did an amazing job of making some of the most beautiful spots accessible to everyone who visits the park. These top 9 best overlooks in Badlands National Park should not be overlooked (pun intended 😬) when visiting the beautiful eroded landscape.
2 Comments Add yours
I believe that the marker for Overlook #8, “Yellow Mounds Pullout” is in the wrong spot. I became suspicious of the error when the picture’s caption referred to a “small” pullout, while the marker is on a long pullout. I used Google Maps “Street View” to determine that the background scenery in your photo is from a pullout .4 miles to the North West.
I believe you are correct. I have adjusted the map. Thanks for the catch!