The scenic Badland Loop Road  and Sage Creek Rim Road a re delightful ways to tour Badlands National Park , but getting out and hiking the region  has its rewards as well. The region is beautiful but remote, so visitors need to consider safety when thinking about leaving the car behind and walking the wilderness areas of the park.
During the summer months, the temperatures in the Badlands can reach 100°F and once on the trails, there is no drinkable water available. Be sure to pack in plenty to drink, wear sunglasses, and use sunscreen.
Be aware also that bison are free-roaming in the park and are very fast and dangerous. Keep at least 100 yards away from them. You cannot outrun them should they decide to charge.
Hikers in the backcountry may find that the bison here are not used to visitors and are somewhat curious. Be sure to keep an eye on their location and drift away from them if they decide to approach. Do not stare at them, as this would be interpreted to be aggressive behavior on your part.
Exercise caution when hiking anywhere in the Badlands. The soil can be very loose and cause sliding. The most common injury in the park is a sprained ankle, so be sure to wear good sturdy footgear. The weather in the park can change dramatically on short notice and thunderstorms are common during the summer.
At a minimum, a good windbreaker is mandatory gear. For longer hikes, consider carrying rain gear. Remember also that cell phone service in this remote area is sporadic at best. If you are planning a long hike, or an overnight stay in the wilderness area, let the park rangers know your plans.
The South Unit of the Badlands was used as a bombing practice range during World War II. It is possible that you could find unexploded ordnance (bullets, etc.) if you hike in that region. Do not pick up any of these items, but please do report your findings to the park service. If you have GPS units, please note the location of the items found.
Though there’s no clear evidence, it’s possible that cell phone use may cause nearby unexploded ordnance to detonate. Avoid using your cell phone unless it’s an emergency.