Wildflowers of Buffalo Gap Grasslands and Badlands National Park


Yesterday we came back from our first family trip since we got married three years ago.  And it was an amazing tour of the National Parks in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota.  We visited Yellowstone, Grand Tetons (see previous post), Mount Rushmore, Custer National Parks, the Black Hills, Wind and Jewel Caves, and the last stop was the Buffalo Gap National Grassland and the Badlands. 

And to me, these two were my favorite.  Yes, Yellowstone and Grand Teton are breathtakingly stunning with their alpine beauty.  But the Badlands offered such a striking contrast of arid beauty interspersed with prairie simplicity. It was two extremes coming together to offer quite a scenery, even on a cloudy day.  And when it comes to vegetation, mother nature always finds a way.  In between the rocks, grass grew and flowers provided unexpected pops of colors that just brought a smile.  

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Flowering Plains Prickly Pear Cactus

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The Buffalo Gap National Grasslands kind of extends to the limits of other towns, which allows for beautiful views of abandoned homesteads in South Dakota.

  Annual Sunflower (Helianthus annuus )

Annual Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

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  wild strawberry  ( Fragaria virginiana)

wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

 Wild Rose

Wild Rose

I really fell in love with the look and big blooms of the yucca plant.  The bell shape pods are just so different and beautiful.

  Soapweed (Yucca glauca )

Soapweed (Yucca glauca)

At the National Grassland Visitor Center, you could walk around the various grasses and plants that you can find in Buffalo Gap and the Badlands. Some were not labeled but they are still beautiful

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 I really love the combination of grasses and flowers at the National Grassland Center.

I really love the combination of grasses and flowers at the National Grassland Center.

 Silverleaf Psoralea

Silverleaf Psoralea

But I have to say that the star right now all across the parks is the goldenrod. There are various types growing in all the national parks we visited and made for quite a stunning view.

  Goldenrod (Solidago ssp.)

Goldenrod (Solidago ssp.)

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Have you been the either of these two national parks? For my European readers, do you have National Parks in your country (meaning funded by the government and open to the public)?