If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Badlands National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve, 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.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Badlands National Park Overview
- 2 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Overview
- 3 Hiking At National Parks
- 4 Badlands National Park Hiking Trails
- 5 Hiking Overview at Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
- 6 Wildlife at Badlands National Park
- 7 Wildlife at Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
- 8 What’s the best time to visit?
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!
Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Overview
Wrangell-St. Elias is a vast national park that rises from the ocean all the way up to 18,008 ft. At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! Within this wild landscape, people continue to live off the land as they have done for centuries. This rugged, beautiful land is filled with opportunities for adventure.
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|
|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 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a haven for hikers of all levels of experience. Novice hikers can start with the easy Crosswind Lake trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains without too much elevation gain. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Crescent Lake trail is a great option. It is longer than the Crosswind Lake trail and has a steeper elevation gain, but it is still considered to be relatively easy. More experienced hikers can tackle one of the park’s difficult trails, such as the Donoho Peak trail, which summits one of the park’s tallest peaks. Wrangell – St Elias National Park is truly a paradise for hikers of all levels of ability.
Top 10 Hiking Trails at Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
|Hike Name||Elevation Gain||Difficulty Rating||Type||Average Rating|
|Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail||598.932||7||out and back||4.5|
|Medano Lake Trail||697.992||3||out and back||4|
|Montville Nature Trail||26.8224||1||loop||4|
|Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail||80.772||3||out and back||3.5|
|Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake||1079.9064||3||out and back||4|
|Wellington Ditch Trail||47.8536||1||out and back||4|
|Dunes Overlook Trail||143.8656||3||out and back||4|
|Pinion Flats Campground Trail||26.8224||1||loop||4|
|High Dune Trail||191.7192||5||out and back||5|
|High and Star Dune Loop||403.86||3||loop||4.5|
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 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to an incredible array of animals, including bears, moose, wolves, and caribou. In addition, the park is also home to a variety of plant life, including tundra plants and towering spruce trees. With so much to see and explore, Wrangell – St Elias National Park is the perfect place to get up close and personal with some of Alaska’s most amazing wildlife.
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.
Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Weather Considerations
Wrangell – St Elias National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States, and it is known for its varied and extreme weather conditions. The park experiences very cold winters, with average temperatures ranging from -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the summers are relatively mild, with average temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to visit the park is during the summer months, when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. However, visitors should be aware that the early summer months can be rainy, so it is best to plan accordingly. The worst time to visit the park is during the winter, when temperatures are at their lowest and conditions are often treacherous. If you do choose to visit during this time, be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear to ensure your safety.