The Ogalala Sioux called this area mako sica, meaning "land bad". Borrowing from this apt description, early French-Canadian trappers referred to the daunting terrain as les mauvaises terres traverser, or "bad lands to cross". Today, we know this visually stunning landscape as 'The Badlands'.
President Franklin Roosevelt issued a proclamation on January 25, 1939 establishing Badlands National Monument. In the late 60's, Congress added more than 130,000 acres of Oglala Sioux tribal land to be co-managed with the NPS. The Badlands were officially designated as a National Park on November 10, 1978.
The Park - 244,000 acres divided into 3 distinct units - only maintains trails in the Sage Creek Wilderness Unit. The following trails and backcountry routes are located in the Sage Creek Wilderness Unit.