Sometimes it’s tough to explain the grand-scale beauty of the Badlands — it’s easier to show people.  That’s where the popular cell-phone activity of “selfies” comes in.  Some people are better at it than I am, so that hashtag #inthebeautifulbadlands will give you a chance to show off where you’ve been.  This is the hashtag that you can use to find your selfies and those of others:


Years ago, one of my motorcycle-riding friends from Texas asked me to photograph him on his bike in the Badlands. Even though I’d hiked, camped, canoed, and ridden horses in the Badlands for decades, I drew a blank on where would be the best place.   In the end, we chose #5 as the best place to pose him and his Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.


Up North

Riverbend Overlook

The famous Riverbend Overlook is near the west end of the scenic drive in the north unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A convenient parking area and trail leads down to the building. Along the way are several potential points for a selfie.

riverbend overlook T Roosevelt National Park

One of the most photographed buildings in the state was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp nearly 100 years ago. Use it as a backdrop for a selfie from a nearby hill — or pose at the building to show the grand-scale beauty of the Badlands.



Oxbow Overlook

Oxbow Overlook is at the far western end of the scenic drive in the north unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A large parking area, benches and a paved walkway lead to the overlook above the Little Missouri River.

As the sun sank lower towards the horizon on an early fall day, this bison almost took on a golden glow. A brilliant golden hour lit up the western edges of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our drive to Oxbow Overlook was peaceful, serene, and surprising . We found bison slowly lumbering along side our vehicle as we crept along. We observed big horn sheep on the hillside next to us. They mingled with the bison in peace. Read about the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park here: https://wp.me/p8zmWn-2jj Purchase this photo here: http://bit.ly/34YmR7l

Never get closer than this if you want a selfie with a bison in it. We are about 500 yards from the beast at the Oxbow Overlook.

If the time is right, you may get a distant bison in one of your selfies. Be careful. Some people make the fatal mistake of thinking they can get an up-close selfie with a bison. That is never a good idea.  It is always a bad idea. But with a bit of planning and positioning, you can stay hundreds of yards away from a bison and still get a good selfie.

Key safety idea: “hundreds of yards.”


Down South

Painted Canyon

burlys ad menuProbably the most common selfie point in the badlands is the rest area on I-94 between Belfield and Medora.  The Painted Canyon Rest Area overlooks the Badlands and provides a nearly ideal location for a selfie.

Painted Canyon Rest Area is a popular spot for selfies, and group photos — such as this one, a few years ago with my daughter and grandson.


Wind Canyon

In the south unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a short little trail overlooking the Little Missouri River. Wind Canyon is what it says it is — windy.  The views down below are good enough for a grand-scale selfie, or one that is a little more intimate.

Even on a warm winter day, a selfie is possible at Wind Canyon — like we did for our Christmas Card one year.


The far east end of the Badlands

Little Missouri State Park

This is where the Badlands are the most rugged.  The Little Missouri State Park has several good places for selfies, including near the entrance sign, or at the overlook platform.

selfie overlook little missouri State Park

Overlooking the Badlands and the Little Missouri River at the Little Missouri River State Park north of Killdeer.

Little Missouri State Park












Lost Bridge Pull Off

The historic pull off at the Lost Bridge site is good for a selfie. It’s about halfway on the Highway 22 Scenic Byway from Dickinson to New Town. You’ll find it down the hill from the Little Missouri State Park on North Dakota Highway 22 north of Killdeer.


An autumn afternoon for a photo shoot at Lost Bridge on Highway 22 north of Killdeer.

Show us What You Got

Your cell phone, or a tripod and camera with a self-timer are all you need to get going.  So, let’s see what ya got!  Our Facebook Page (click here)  is a good spot to share your selfies from one of these locations or another place for a grand-scale selfie that shows the Badlands and all their beauty. 

Enter the Facebook Selfie Hashtag Contest

Win a summer gift bag worth more than $50.

Until June 21, the Beautiful Badlands Facebook page is hosting a selfie contest. 

The winning selfie will be determined by popular vote: engagements, likes, comments, shares.

The official rules are here: https://wp.me/p8zmWn-5Vw

Must use the hashtag:


The Badlands are a seemingly never-ending region of photo opportunities. Get out of your car, take a little hike to see grandeur that most people do not believe is North Dakota.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the Badlands in North Dakota?

The Badlands follow the Little Missouri River from the extreme southwestern corner of North Dakota, 150 miles north to Mandaree.  

What are the Badlands?

The badlands are a rugged and hilly region of western North Dakota. They are an eroded slice of landscape with sparsely wooded ridges, bluffs, buttes, and pinnacles laid bare by glaciers and erosion of eons of time. 

What are the Little Missouri National Grasslands?

The Little Missouri National Grasslands is the largest national grasslands in the U.S. at 1,033,271 acres. It its unaltered state it includes tall prairie grasses, buttes, badlands and woody areas.  It is open country and so an almost constant wind blows across the Little Missouri National Grasslands.

More Selfie Locations

We’ve scouted the region for the best selfie locations including those by amazing structures and some by essential historic points.  Subscribe to this blog to be the first to know when we publish a list of suggested selfie locations.  The subscribe box up above on the right is where you tell us to send the “first-to-know” notice. 

Use the hashtag #inthebeautifulbadlands to show us where you like to shoot selfies.