Badlands National Park vs. Death Valley National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Badlands National Park and Death Valley National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Park Overview

Badlands National Park is an incredible natural landscape located in the US state of South Dakota. Founded in 1941, Badlands is known for its sweeping canyons, rolling hills, and dramatic rock formations. The park is renowned for its rich variety of plants and animals, ranging from prickly cactus plants to bighorn sheep. There are also a number of historic sites within Badlands National Park, including Native American settlements and homesteads that exemplify the adventurous spirit of early settlers in the area. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day hiking through scenic vistas or exploring the fascinating history of this iconic national park, Badlands has something for everyone!

Death Valley National Park Overview

In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life thrives in Death Valley.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Badlands National Park Hiking Trails

Badlands National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. For those looking for an easy hike, the one-mile Notch Trail is a great option. The trailhead is located near the park visitor center, and the trail itself is relatively flat and well-maintained. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the seven-mile Castle Trail is a great option. The trailhead is located near the high point of Badlands Loop Road, and the trail features a number of steep climbs. However, hikers are rewarded with stunning views of Badlands formations along the way.

Best Hikes At Badlands National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Sage Creek Loop 245.9736 5 loop 4
Sheep Mountain Table Road 180.7464 3 out and back 4.5
Notch Trail 39.9288 3 out and back 4.5
Castle Trail 95.7072 3 loop 4.5
The Door Trail 10.9728 3 out and back 4.5
Saddle Pass Trail 65.8368 3 out and back 4.5
Medicine Root Loop Trail 102.7176 1 loop 4
The Window Trail 1.8288 1 out and back 4
Cliff Shelf Nature Trail 19.812 1 loop 4
Fossil Exhibit Trail 3.9624 1 out and back 3.5

Hiking Overview at Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with a wide variety of trails to suit all levels of experience. For those looking for an easy hike, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes trail is a great option. This trail is only a mile long and is mostly level, making it perfect for a leisurely stroll. For those looking for more of a challenge, the hikes to Telescope Peak or Panamint Springs are well worth the effort. Both trails are over 10 miles long and involve significant elevation gain, but the views from the summit are simply breathtaking. No matter what your level of experience, Death Valley National Park has a hiking trail that’s perfect for you.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Death Valley National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Loop 1710.8424 7 loop 4.5
Panamint Dunes Trail 165.8112 3 loop 4.5
Ubehebe and Little Hebe Crater Trail 220.98 1 loop 4
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail 7.9248 1 loop 4
Grotto Canyon 204.8256 3 out and back 4
Darwin Falls Trail 251.7648 3 out and back 4
Fall Canyon Trail 656.844 3 out and back 4
Echo Pass and Inyo Mine OHV Loop 396.8496 3 loop 4.5
Zabriskie Point and Gower Gulch Path Loop 125.8824 3 loop 4.5
Harmony Borax Works 6.7056 1 loop 3.5

Wildlife at Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is home to a diverse array of plants and animals. The park’s landscape includes prairies, grasslands, and Badlands formations, providing habitat for many different species. Visitors to the park can expect to see bison, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer. Badlands National Park is also home to a variety of reptiles, including snakes and lizards. In addition, the park is home to more than 400 species of birds, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers. With such a diverse array of wildlife, Badlands National Park is an excellent place to enjoy the outdoors and observe some of America’s most iconic animals.

Wildlife at Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is home to a diverse array of plants and animals. Despite its arid climate, the park is home to more than 800 species of plants, including Joshua trees, creosote bushes, and wildflowers. The park is also home to more than 300 species of animals, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, and desert tortoises. In addition, the park is home to a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Death Valley National Park is an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Badlands National Park Weather Considerations

Badlands National Park experiences a wide range of weather conditions throughout the year. Temperatures can vary widely, from below freezing in the winter to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The park also receives a significant amount of rainfall, which can make hiking and camping difficult. As a result, the best time to visit Badlands National Park depends on what activities you want to do. If you’re interested in hiking and camping, the spring months are typically the best time to go, as the weather is milder and there is less chance of rain. However, if you’re simply looking to enjoy the scenery, any time of year can be a good time to visit. No matter when you go, Badlands National Park is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Death Valley National Park Weather Considerations

Death Valley National Park is one of the hottest places on Earth. Temperatures in the summer can exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is very little shade or relief from the heat. Death Valley is also extremely dry, with almost no rainfall for months at a time. As a result, the best time to visit Death Valley is in the winter, when temperatures are cooler and there is more chance of rain. However, even in winter, Death Valley can be dangerously hot, so always be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection.