North and South Dakota are home to a total of three national parks. With summertime rapidly approaching, the parks offer one-of-a-kind amenities and beauty that simply can't be missed.

A recent article from Outside Online chronicled the best hike in every national park across the country, including the three that call the Dakotas home.

We'll start up North by visiting North Dakota's only National Park:

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Bison roam the Black Hills of South Dakota
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Theodore Roosevelt

The Hike: Maah Daah Hey Trail

The 144-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail, which cuts through the heart of the Badlands, is the longest singletrack mountain-biking route in the country. And it’s great for hiking, too. You’ll go through three units of the park, including the remote Elkhorn Ranch, where Theodore Roosevelt had a cabin, and the Little Missouri National Grasslands. Expect solitude among swaying prairie grass and forests of juniper trees.

Now for a look at the pair of South Dakota National Parks and the best hikes according to Outside online:

Wind Cave

The Hike: Rankin Ridge Fire Tower

Wind Cave, nestled underneath the Black Hills of South Dakota, is one of the most complex cave systems in the world. But up above, miles of hiking trails zigzag across the prairie and hills. Trek to Rankin Ridge, the highest point in the park, where you’ll find the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower. At only one mile round-trip, this one is accessible for all skill levels.

Bison roam the Black Hills of South Dakota
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The Hike: Notch Trail

An easy 1.5-mile round-trip, this trail tours the best of the Badlands’ otherworldly assortment of eroded rock and clay, splashed with a brilliant array of red, white, and black. Ascend a log ladder to a bird’s-eye view of the rugged terrain and distant prairie of White River Valley.

The time is now for planning your summer excursions and adventures. Get out and enjoy the National Parks in your area!

Source: Outside Online


LOOK: 10 Reasons to Visit the South Dakota Badlands

Returning from a weekend trip to Rapid City, South Dakota for state basketball tournaments we decided to visit the Badlands National Park.

A quick turn-off I-90 will take you into some of the most awe-inspiring scenery.

It's also fun to note that several big-screen movies were filmed in the Badlands. Dances With Wolves, Starship Troopers, Armageddon, and most recently, Academy Award winner, Nomadland.

It's a spectacular park with tons to do. If you're setting out on a hike, bring lots of water and sign the hikers' logs at the trailheads. It could save your life. It's a tough place to survive.

Here are 10 facts about the Badlands:


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