Exploring Badlands National Park with your Dog

It’s summer, and you know what that means… road-trips!!   If you’re anything like us, you love taking your pooches along for the ride.  We recently had an EPIC road-trip to gorgeous South Dakota with our two pups, Newton + Maya.  I thought I’d do a little blog series on our adventure and hopefully give you some tips if you’re traveling there with your dogs, too.

Preparing for your Road-Trip

So you’re ready to do a road-trip with your dog?!  Maybe you’ve done this before (KUDOS to YOU!)  But maybe, this is your first, longer-drive, road-trip and you’re a little anxious.  Here’s a little info that will hopefully help you prepare.  First things first, make a list of things that your doggie(s) need on a daily basis….

  • Food (duh!)
  • treats (do not forget the treats!)
  • Nalgene bottles / water bowls
  • Fresh water
  • toys
  • medications / supplements
  • dog bed(s) / blankies
  • leashes
  • harnesses
  • bandanas, and
  • anything else they might use on a daily basis OR that will help make them more comfortable away from home.

Next, apportion the food and treats your pup gets every day, multiple by the number of days you’re away and put all of that in containers or plastic baggies to help make the transport easy.  Count the number of pills / supplements you need for each day and multiply by the number of days and put them in baggies / containers for easy transport.  Then, simply pack up the water bowl, toys, dog bed or blankies and whatever else your poochie might need and pack up the car!

Entering Badlands National Park

First up in our series is our stop at the Badlands.  As a point of reference, from Denver, CO, it takes just about 6 hours to get there.  We made about 3 stops along the way to allow for potty relief, water breaks and treat distributions (for both K9 and human travelers!) Badlands National Park is an other-worldly landscape situated just outside of Rapid City, South Dakota.  It was one of my favorite stops on our South Dakota adventure.  While dogs are allowed in the park, they cannot be on trails and must remain on-leash at all times.  However, you can explore the gorgeous park with your pooch from along the scenic park drive and the lookout point stops.

Along the scenic drive through the park, we saw incredible sights.  From a herd of Bison to the colorful pastel rocky buttes, spires and grassy fields filled with yellow flowers, you’ll be in AWWW all the way through.   We stopped at The Big Badlands Overlook, Panorama Point, Prairie Wind Overlook, Burns Basin Overlook, the Homestead Overlook and the Pinnacles Overlook, but there are many many more outlooks and spots to stop at.  You can also stop and have lunch at one of the picnic areas.

Make sure your phone or regular camera is fully charged, because you will not want to miss all of the incredible photo ops!

Also, one really important point to remember, if you are visiting in the summer, make sure you have plenty of water for your dog, because it gets hawt!!

Leaving Badlands National Park

Once you’ve completed your drive and have worked up an appetite, head over to Rapid City’s Lost Cabin Brewery for some delish food/snacks and some cold brews.  Pups are welcome and they have food trucks that rotate throughout the week.   What’s better than enjoying a craft brew and good food with your pup by your side?  Newton and Maya are big fans!

If you are staying over night in Rapid City, the Residence Inn by Marriott is dog friendly and super centrally located to the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore.  It’s where we stayed and you can’t go wrong!

Here are my favorite moments from the Badlands…

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