SD: Off-the-Grid in The Badlands
We almost didn't do this. What a shame it would have been to miss out on this completely unique one-of-a-kind off-the-grid camping experience!
If the thought of not having a reservation and no hookups worries you, don't let it - GO! Staying on The Ridge in The Badlands [or as it is called on google the 'boondocking' area (we dislike that term) was one of our favorite camping experiences ever.
That little dot in the middle ~ that's the Silverhytten!
- Where? Right off Interstate 90 (about 7 miles south of Wall ~ Google will take you there). Yes, it IS the dirt road leading into a cow pasture likely full of cows. There will be no sign.
- What? Camping in a cow field on a ridge in The Badlands.
- Benefits: AMAZING Badlands views. A camping experience like no other.
- Caution: It can be incredibly hot here in the Summer. We were here in late June and it was a cooker in the upper 80's with upper 90's forecasted for the next day. Luckily it DID cool down at night, but be prepared to be hot (*Tip: situate your camper to block the evening sun for some much needed shade until it sets). We were pleasantly surprised at the respectful campers here who didn't fire up their generators to run their air conditioners (unfortunately a rare occurrence when camping anymore).
- Travel Time back to Minneapolis: It's a long day home, approximately 8+ hours depending on your drive speed.
The view from our campsite
You likely do not want to arrive too late, especially if you want your pick of places to camp. We arrived around 3:30pm and were pleasantly surprised that there was plenty of room for us (we had heard it fills up early here).
There are dozens of rough campsites that stretch along the ridge for the better part of a mile. (Note: most sites are not level - bring enough blocks if you need to level your camper).
We picked a spot that looked good shortly after reaching the ridge. We didn't drive all the way south down the ridge, but there must be an entrance on that end as it seemed people were coming in from that direction as well.
The evening entertainment was universally happy hour and watching the sunset, and the cows moving down to the lower grazing lands for the night. The background music was the camper behind us playing the French Horn and cows mooing.
The views of the stars at night are unbelievable and the ambiance of the coyotes howling off in the distance a unique experience.
Our morning alarm.
And, there is nothing like waking up to the sound of a cow eating behind your camper!
We did not bike here, but you could bike along the length of the ridge. We did see some serious runners out for a run and a couple of people casually riding bikes ~ mainly to check out the scene.
Additional Camping Information:
- There is no water here, bring in what you need.
- There are no bathrooms here, bring your own.
- There is no dump station here, or nearby that we sought out. But if you are headed back to Minnesota and driving through St. Peter, there is a municipal dump station by the Police Station that we used (pictured above).
- If you need services, the town of Wall is 7 miles north and you should be able to find what you need.
- LEAVE NO TRACE. There was unfortunately the remnants of a fire in front of our campsite - even that should be cleaned up. Be respectful of those coming to enjoy this area after you.
- Abundantly good cell phone coverage. There are big cell phone towers on the ridge.
Skeeter Rating: 0. We did not really have any issues with bugs here, but you are in a cow pasture so there are some.
This is part of our Bighorn National Forest Scouting Notes. For additional places we stayed, go to: