Returning from a weekend trip to Rapid City 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. Here are 10 facts about the Badlands:

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Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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Named "mako sica" - or "bad lands" - long ago by the Lakota Natives, this rocky terrain offers a great place for fossil hunting and seeing wildlife - both of which you must leave in the park.

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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One of our favorite places to hike is the Saddle Pass Trail. It's a great uphill hike to get to the top but the view is stunning. Good footwear is a must as the terrain is slippery from fine dust and it gets quite steep at times.

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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Yes, there are rattlesnakes in the Badlands National Park. Stay on the trails and if you here a rattling sound, step back slowly and go around.

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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The boys made it to the top of Saddle Pass Trail.

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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There is no shortage of prairie dogs in the Badlands. This fella was just waiting for a handout.

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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There are 16 lookout points and observation areas along the scenic 39 mile long Badlands Loop Road. (MAP)

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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The Badlands was made a national park on November 10, 1978, and is over 250,000 acres!

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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Nearly a million people visit the Badlands every year. It's not only a good summer road trip, but the winter is spectacular!

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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The rugged terrain was formed by weather, the elements, and water. Lots of water. According to the markers placed throughout the park, the entire area was once underwater. They estimate around 75 million years ago! It's hard to fathom that an ancient sea was in land-locked South Dakota.

Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
Photo by Danny V @ Townsquare Media
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The Badlands are eroding about one inch per year, according to the National Park Service.

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.

One Of South Dakota's Coolest Parks Is Just East of Sioux Falls

Before this South Dakota State Park was dedicated it had been more than 40 years since South Dakota had a new State Park. And this Sioux Falls green space is a gem!

Good Earth State Park is on the southeast edge of Sioux Falls right on the Iowa / South Dakota border.

South Dakota Foods You Must Try

Some foods are distinctly South Dakota. How many of these amazing South Dakota dishes have you tried?!

If you live in South Dakota chances are you've eaten many of the items on this food list.

But if you are visiting our state or if you just haven't gotten around to chowing down on these great eats, you need to get on it.

Some foods are distinctly South Dakotan. Here are the 9 South Dakota Foods You Must Try Before You Check Out …