Where Can I Camp for Free in Badlands National Park?

Badlands National Park is one of the most exclusive and beautiful places in the United States. It is a rugged landscape of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles surrounded by a vast expanse of prairie grasslands, with dramatic changes in scenery from one horizon to the next. The badlands region has been an attraction for campers and adventurers for centuries, and camping in Badlands National Park is still one of the best ways to explore its majestic beauty.

If you are looking to explore this area, you may be wondering: Where can I camp for free in Badlands National Park? Fortunately, there are many free camping opportunities available throughout the park. There are over 100 miles of backcountry trails that offer basic camping at no cost, and no permits are required.

The area also offers more than 20 primitive campsites located throughout the park.

These sites are typically accessible by car but may require some hiking to reach them. Unlike backcountry sites, these locations do require permits; however, they can be obtained for free from the park ranger station or visitor center. Additionally, these campsites provide access to potable water and other amenities including fire pits and picnic tables.

Camping in Badlands National Park can also take advantage of private campgrounds located just outside the park boundaries. Many of these campgrounds offer both tent camping as well as RV hookups at reasonable rates. They also provide access to showers, restrooms, and basic supplies such as firewood and ice.


No matter what type of camping experience you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone in Badlands National Park. From primitive backcountry sites to private campgrounds with RV hookups, there are plenty of options available for those who want to explore this unique landscape without breaking the bank.

Photo of author

Samantha Mckinney