We had read about this fantastic boondocking location near Badlands National Park where you can camp on a cliff overlooking the Badlands National Park for free. This Badlands boondocking area is simply fabulous and one of our all-time favorite camping spots.

It has been called a top five camping destination in the United States and it lived up to its reputation!

The image below is a picture I took of our Airstream’s camp spot in this fantastic boondocking location.

badlands boondocking campsite cliff
Our Airstream camping location atop a cliff overlooking Badlands National Park


The site does not have an official name, but is sometimes called “Dispersed Camping at Badlands National Park” or “The Wall at Badlands National Park” or “Nomad View Dispersed Camping Area.”

This is somewhat of a misnomer. The site is actually a part of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, which is a part of the US Forest Service.

We stopped in at the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands Visitor Center in Wall near Wall Drugs.

The rangers said it is perfectly fine to camp at the Badlands boondocking area. They even gave us directions and showed us a map of where to go.

You may also be interested in the funky landscape of the Bisti Badlands and De-Na-Zin Wilderness in Northwestern New Mexico.

This is 100% boondock camping, meaning there are no amenities (e.g., water, electricity) available. You will need to bring whatever you need and pack out your trash when you leave.

View of Badlands National Park from “The Wall”

The views from “The Wall” are extraordinary. You can see for miles into the Badlands area.

Be sure to bring your binoculars! You’ll be able to get a better look into the landscape and wildlife in the Badlands area.

badlands boondocking near wall
View into the Badlands from “The Wall” boondocking location
badlands view from boondocking campsite
Beautiful view from the Badlands boondocking area of “The Wall”
badlands boondocking view from the wall
Views of the Badlands from “The Wall” camping location

Location of the Badlands Boondocking Area “The Wall”

The Badlands boondocking area is located in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands adjacent to the Badlands National Park area.

Located about six miles south of Wall, South Dakota on Highway 240, the site is readily accessible.

Many people probably pass right by it without realizing it’s there. It is located about a mile from the Pinnacle entrance to the Badlands National Park.

Radio towers at badlands boondocking area
Radio towers viewable from Highway 240

When traveling south on Highway 240 from Wall and I-90, you will see three radio towers up on a hill to the left after about six miles.

You may or may not be able to see other RVs camping up on the hill, depending on their location. They may be there, but be out of view until you get closer.

We were able to see a few RVs which helped us identify the correct dirt road.

The turnoff for the location off the main road is identified in the following Google map. Google maps also identifies the location as “Badlands Boondock Campsite,” so you can search for it that way as well.

Enter the location through a barbed wire gate and dirt road you’ll see from Highway 240.

Be sure to close the gate after you enter as it is there to keep in wildlife, such as the herd of bighorn sheep that wander the Badlands boondocking area.

Bighorn sheep near radio tower
Herd of bighorn sheep on the grasslands as you enter the Wall camping area
badlands bighorn sheep with radio collar
Bighorn sheep with a GPS tracking device

Campsite Location Options on the “Wall”

Once you’re in the “The Wall” grasslands area and beyond the gate, you’ll drive up a dirt road.

It was dry when we visited and easily passable for all types of RVs.

When we visited, there were only about ten other campers, but any type of RV should be able to make it up the hill and to a campsite comfortably.

When you get to the top of the hill by the radio towers, you have a choice as whether to go left (north) or right (south).

Campsite Options to the Right

Most people seem to go to the right as it is where the best views are at the Badlands boondocking area.

However, it is also the most crowded and the cell service signal is not as strong. Basically everyone just parks or pitches a tent at self-made campsites along the dirt road.

RVs camped on the wall
Boondocking campsites to the right (south) of the radio towers

There were several people camping in tents while we were there.

However, it was incredibly windy and so most had decided not to pitch their tents along the ridge, but instead were back in the grassy areas.

tent camper at badlands dispersed camping area
Tent camping on the south side of the radio towers

If you go to the end of the right-side camping area, you can walk out on the cliffs fairly easily to get a great view of the Badlands below. It’s an easy walk and provides some great views.

I biked down as far as I deemed safe, and then walked the rest of the way out for some pretty spectacular views.

Mountain bike on top of south dakota badlands
Biking to the end of the south side of the Badlands boondocking area for incredible views into the Badlands National Park
badlands boondocking right side campsites
View to the camping area for the cliffs

Campsite Options to the Left

If you go to the left when you get to the top of the dirt road by the radio towers, you’ll find many more available places to camp.

The road winds for a few miles, so there is plenty of room for everyone to spread out.

You basically just choose a spot that looks good to you.

There are some sites where it is obvious others have camped previously, but you are free to make your own site within a reasonable distance from the road.

badlands campsites left side campsites
Road that winds to the left of the radio towers at the Badlands boondocking area

The rangers asked that we not park on the grassy area to the left of the road.

This is the area in which there is a pond that attracts wildlife.

Pond in the badlands boondocking area
Pond in “The Wall” boondocking area of the Badlands National Park

We chose to go left as there are several miles of available campsites along the dirt road.

Also, on this south side of the radio towers, the cell phone signal is stronger.

We drove around to where the road curves back around so we had a direct view into the Badlands National Park.

We biked further down the road and it becomes more grassy with less of a view of the Badlands. However, the sites are more private, so keep going to the left if you want a super quiet area to camp.

airstream camped on the wall at badlands dispersed camping area
Our campsite location at “The Wall” at the Badlands National Park

I found a survey marker from BLM near our camping location.

badlands survey marker
Bureau of Land Management survey marker at the camping location

Summary of the Badlands Boondocking Area

If you get the opportunity to spend a night or longer at “The Wall,” do so. It is amazing.

I do not think we’ll be able to find a better view from a boondocking site as this was just beautiful. We also really loved a few other spots for dispersed camping by national parks, and keep finding more to enjoy.

We met several of our neighbors and everyone marveled at the beauty of it all.

Falling asleep to the howls of coyotes and a star-filled night sky just added to the fabulousness of the SD Badlands boondocking area.