Badlands’ undulating expanse of native prairie spreads over nearly a quarter-million acres. Its name derives from the impassable jumble of gullies, buttes, pinnacles, and spires that gouge its surface. The exotic landforms, rich colors, and changing skies beckon the landscape photographer above all others. But for wildlife shooters, Badlands offers easy access to two spectacular adjoining parks: Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park. These are strongholds for prairie megafauna—bison, pronghorn, mule and white-tailed deer, and coyote, plus a plethora of playful prairie dogs.
Must shoot: Vampire Peak in the purple twilight. Insider tip: For shooting bison, set yourself up against a good background ahead of their line of travel—they seldom change direction. Info: www.nps.gov/badl This photo: