Badlands and Wall Drug South Dakota

The Badlands and Wall Drug South Dakota 

For the second portion of our 10-day trip, we made a stop in the ghost town of Cottonwood, South Dakota, The Badlands, and Wall Drug South Dakota. With the idea of reaching our home base for the trip in Hill City, South Dakota.

I made a conscious decision when I woke up that today was going to be a good day for traveling and sightseeing.  The mindset of the previous day was a slight set back and today was a new day. You can read about Day 1 here.

Ghost Town of Cottonwood South Dakota

The image with the Milky Way is a composite image. A composite image is made up of 2 or more images and combined into one image using Adobe Photoshop.

After enjoying muffins, coffee, and juice at the motel we traveled toward Hill City.

We had hoped to locate the ghost town of Cottonwood, South Dakota. There were pictures posted on Instagram and I knew it would be cool.

We spotted Cottonwood on our way to Wall Drug.

The ghost town had old houses, buildings, and a fabulous church.

There were a few homes that had occupants at the time we toured the town.

But, yep for the main part, there isn’t much but some really awesome old structures.

The church was our favorite!

One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the thing you’ve always wanted. Do it now.

— Paulo Coelho

Wall and Wall Drug South Dakota

From Cottonwood, we headed to Wall, South Dakota to explore and have lunch. If anyone should miss Wall Drug, I would laugh hysterically! They have millions of signs along the roadway saying they pretty much have EVERYTHING. As the car passenger, I made a game out of trying to capture all the signs. I missed one.

From Cottonwood, we headed to Wall, South Dakota to explore and have lunch. If anyone should miss Wall Drug, I would laugh hysterically!

They have what seems like millions of signs along the roadway saying they pretty much have EVERYTHING. As the car passenger, I made a game out of trying to capture all the signs on one of our trips.

Touring & Lunch In Wall

We walked through a few shops but the Apocathary and pharmacy our daughter wanted to see in Wall were closed. Our favorite item in the window was a hanging urn. The water was green and signified that the town was plague free. If it were to have been red, we would have worried!

Lunch At Wall Drug

For lunch, our group had a chicken sandwich, a cheeseburger, and a bison burger, each with a side of onion rings. We had to dig deep in our pockets for a cup of that 5-cent coffee and free ice water they advertised on the I-90 signage 🙂

Our order came and they forgot to put the chicken patty on our daughter’s sandwich. We were laughing when a teen ran the patty out on a separate plate and apologized. We laughed it off.

After one bite of my cheeseburger, I wasn’t a fan. The taste was off and I ate my onion rings. My husband told me his bison burger was dry. After he was finished with his burger, he proceeded to eat mine. He said I had received his bison burger, and it was delicious. Guess I don’t care for bison.

We dropped $50 bucks on lunch. I’d say skip lunch here unless you want bragging rights or enjoy bison burgers.

The Badlands National Park

Over 40 years on this planet and the Badlands National Park was my first National Park visit! The Badlands was an excellent choice!

Prairie Dogs Have The Plague?

As we waited in line to pay the National Park fee, my daughter and I caught a glimpse of a sign warning us that the prairie dogs have the plague.

When paying the entrance fee we had to ask what that meant. We were told that some of the prairie dogs do have the plague. Fleas transmit the plague from prairie dog town to prairie dog town.

Like the real plague? This is in fact, the same bacteria that causes the plague in humans. It can be transmitted from prairie dogs to humans, though the risk is low.

Well, I’m not standing in any prairie dog fields and I will check that off my list. The apothecary in Wall lied. The prairie dogs have the plague and they outnumber humans!

A Drive Through The Park

The views one experiences are surreal and breathtaking! You could take a million pictures and never be able to capture what your eyes can see.

After driving for 30 minutes and stopping at the overlooks, we realized we didn’t allow enough time to fully explore the park today.

Oh, my! The wildlife one can see! We were able to locate burrowing owls, rams, sheep, pronghorn, prairie dogs, bison, and well, all kinds of wildlife.

I wish that we could have hiked and spent more time here but we still had an hour-and-a-half drive to Hill City, SD, and had to shop for groceries for the remainder of the trip.

We waved a sad goodbye to the park and began our drive to Hill City.

“Tranquility, serenity, and beauty of nature taught me how to find happiness in life and in the silence of eternity.”

Debasish Mridha

Hill City, South Dakota

We rented an old mining house in Hill City to use as our home base for the trip. While unloading the cooler from the back of the car, I was being chased around by a rooster. At the time, I didn’t know that all he wanted was love and attention.

We did a quick survey of the property to see what the property held and what we needed to shop for.


In the backyard, were goats, chickens, and ducks.  My husband couldn’t stand the smell of the goats. Yes, they do have an interesting odor.

We noticed a gas grill on the patio and went to check it out. It was brand new and had a full tank of propane. Perfect for grilling supper.

To the left of the house was Hill City Mining Company, and to the right was Naked Winery.


The inside of the house was perfect.  It had all the comforts of home.  One bedroom downstairs, dining room, living room with Direct TV, a bathroom with washer and dryer, the kitchen had every appliance one could ask for.  Upstairs had two additional bedrooms and a bathroom.  Everything was exceptionally clean and well stocked, right down to laundry soap.

After completing our shopping list we went grocery shopping.  We purchased meat for grilling suppers, breakfast items, and items to make sandwiches for lunches and snacks while hiking.  Our bill for all our food was under $70.00.  Which will save us from spending an exceptional amount of money on meals out.

Then, it was time to retire for the night. Custer State Park and The Needles Highway await tomorrow’s adventures!

Until next time friends – Take care!

Additional Posts From The Trip

Day 1 – Sioux Falls, 1880 Town, Kimball, SD
Day 2 – You are here
Day 3 – Custer State Park and Needles Highway
Day 4 – UTV Adventure In The Black Hills
Day 5 – Deadwood & Sturgis
Day 6 – Spearfish Canyon and Pactola Lake
Day 7 – More Custer State Park Exploring & Wind Cave National Park
Day 8 – Corn Palace and County Road Driving
Day 9 – Palisades State Park South Dakota

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