Interior (Wall), SD

Interior (Wall), SD

Nestled within the rugged landscapes of the Badlands, Interior is a gateway to some of the most stunning natural beauty that South Dakota has to offer. One of the town’s most significant features is its proximity to Badlands National Park, less than 2 miles away, a captivating landscape of eroded buttes, canyons, and unique rock formations. Visitors come from all over the world to explore the park’s hiking trails, observe wildlife, and witness the awe-inspiring scenery. Interior serves as a convenient base for those looking to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the Badlands.

The town itself embodies a sense of authenticity and simplicity. With a handful of local businesses and accommodations, Interior offers a down-to-earth experience that contrasts with the hustle and bustle of larger towns and cities. This makes it a peaceful retreat for travelers seeking to disconnect from the chaos of modern life and connect with the tranquility of the great outdoors.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a mesmerizing natural wonder located in southwestern South Dakota. It’s a place of striking beauty and rugged landscapes, characterized by its unique rock formations, deep canyons, and otherworldly terrain. It’s easy to imagine how early visitors came to call this the badlands. Can you imagine travelling through the area on horseback or via covered wagon?

The park’s iconic terrain is the result of millions of years of erosion, which has exposed layers of sedimentary rock in a range of vibrant colors, from deep reds to pale yellows. These formations create a stunning visual spectacle that changes with the shifting sunlight, making the Badlands a paradise for photographers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts.

Badlands National Park offers an array of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore a network of hiking trails that wind through the canyons and hills, providing opportunities to witness the unique geology up close and to observe the park’s diverse flora and fauna. Wildlife such as bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and coyotes roam the area, offering wildlife enthusiasts a chance to glimpse these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

The park’s landscape also holds significant paleontological value. Fossilized remains of ancient mammals like rhinoceroses, horses, and other creatures have been discovered in the sedimentary layers, providing insight into the prehistoric world. The visitor center offers educational exhibits on the park’s geology, ecology, and paleontology, making it an excellent starting point for exploring the area.

Whether you’re admiring the sunrise or sunset over the Badlands, hiking along the trails, or taking in the breathtaking vistas from the overlooks, Badlands National Park is a place of unparalleled beauty that captivates and inspires all who visit. It’s truly a testament to the raw power of nature and the wonders that can be discovered within its rugged embrace.

The unique yellow colors in this area are caused by fossilized sea creatures from when this was a shallow sea 65 million years ago
Lone male Bison within the park
We finally saw a Bighorn sheep! That’s been on our bucket list for a while.
Cedar Pass Campground – The campsites are just circular pullouts along the road through the campground

Minuteman Missile Museum / Silo

Minuteman missiles are intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that form a crucial component of the United States’ nuclear deterrence strategy. Named after the Revolutionary War militia who were ready to mobilize at a minute’s notice, Minuteman missiles are designed to be launched rapidly and deliver nuclear warheads over great distances.

The Minuteman series of missiles was first developed during the Cold War as a response to the need for a reliable and quickly deployable nuclear deterrent. The initial Minuteman I version became operational in the early 1960s, followed by the Minuteman II in the mid-1960s, and then the Minuteman III in the 1970s. The Minuteman III, which is the version currently in service, is a land-based, solid-fueled missile capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads to different targets.

These missiles are housed in underground launch silos scattered across the United States, primarily in the northern Great Plains. The silos are hardened and designed to withstand various forms of attack. The concept behind the Minuteman missiles is to ensure that the United States maintains a credible and flexible nuclear deterrent that can be launched quickly if necessary, thus deterring potential adversaries from launching a nuclear attack.

While the Minuteman missile system represents a sobering aspect of global security, it also reflects the complex dynamics of international relations and the ongoing efforts to prevent large-scale conflicts through the principle of mutually assured destruction (MAD).

Due to arms reduction treaties in the 1990’s most of the Minuteman sites have been decommissioned and destroyed. The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Visitor Center is about 21 miles east of the town of Wall, SD and plays an essential role in preserving the history of the Cold War and educating the public about the complexities of nuclear arms and deterrence. It’s a place that offers insight into the past while encouraging reflection on the importance of global security and diplomacy. Whether you’re interested in history, technology, or geopolitics, a visit to the visitor center provides a thought-provoking and educational experience.

Minuteman Goal
Inert missile in the Delta-09 Missile Silo site just east of Wall
Personnel hatch used to enter the silo
Hatch cover with viewing window
One of several nearly catastrophic events with our nuclear arsenal

The story above was one of several near “accidents” in the history of nuclear arms. This one was only 40 years ago and I’m sure there have been several more since then. Had it not been for Lt. Col. Petrov sensing something wasn’t right and having the courage to ignore his orders to report any alarms, we all might not be here today. His decision ended his military career but likely saved humanity.


Wall, South Dakota, is a small town with a big reputation, thanks in large part to its proximity to the iconic Badlands National Park and the famous Wall Drug Store. This charming town has carved out a niche for itself as a popular stop for travelers.

One of Wall’s most recognizable landmarks is Wall Drug Store. What began as a small pharmacy in 1931 has grown into a sprawling complex that includes shops, restaurants, galleries, and even a museum. The store is known for its unique advertising campaign that lured visitors with promises of free ice water and 5-cent coffee. Today, it remains a quirky and fun destination where you can grab a bite to eat, shop for souvenirs, and experience the nostalgia of days gone by. Coffee is still 5-cents if you have it on site in one of their cups, but it’s 97-cents if you want it in a to go cup!

Beyond its tourist attractions, Wall maintains the warmth of a tight-knit community. It’s a place where you can get a sense of small-town America, complete with local events, friendly faces, and a laid-back atmosphere. So, whether you’re passing through on a road trip, visiting the Badlands, or just looking for a unique stop along the way, Wall, South Dakota, offers a blend of history, nature, and quirky charm that’s hard to forget.

The famous Wall Drug Store
Wall Drug Store donuts with Maple icing – Yummy!
80 foot Wall drug dinosaur
World’s largest Jackalope at Dahl’s Chainsaw Art in Wall

Park Review – Badlands / White River KOA Holiday

Site 20
Pine Ridge Pass in front of Site 20

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Location:  Interior, ND
Type: Commercial Park
Check-in/Check-out times: 1:00/11:00
Site Quality / Amenities: Roads and pads are gravel as are most patios. We opted for a deluxe site with a concrete patio and with “fancy” patio furniture. The black refrigerator size piece of metal is a fire pit. The park has a small pool, games and a playground.
Access: The park is south of Interior, SD and south of the Badlands National Park.
Staff: Staff were all friendly and they provide an escort to your site as well as daily trash pickup.
Cellular/WiFi: Although the park web site indicates cellular service was sparse to non-existent in the park, we found that only to be true of AT&T. For Verizon we actually had some of the fastest service we’ve ever had – at one time I got 270 Mbps downloads and 7 Mbps uploads on 4G.
Restaurants: There aren’t many restaurants in the area but we heard that the gas station in Interior served pretty good food although we didn’t try it. We did eat at Salty Steer in Wall when we found Wall Drug to crowded. The burgers there were actually very good and the restaurant was much less crowded.
Nearby parks: Cedar Pass Campground in the national park was nice for a couple of days but it was electric only, no sewer and sites were pull-outs along the road. Many would have been too short for us. Water was available but could be far from your site and was not for hookup during a stay. We heard that visitors enjoy the sunrise/sunsets and that wildlife goes through the park. Badlands Motel and Campground in Interior looked similar in quality to the KOA without some of the “Holiday” features.
What we liked: Shade trees but we were able to receive satellite on site 20. Likely better choices for sites would be the longer sites 140-149.
What we didn’t like: Spacing between the sites is pretty close and clearance along the roads can get very tight. Likely because of the rainfall in 2023, the mosquitoes and flies were really bad. They would bite not only in the evenings but in the heat of the day.
Verdict: The park was a bit above average for KOA’s and would be a good place to stay for a visit to the Badlands. We stayed for a week but if we came here again 3 or 4 days would be plenty.

One thought on “Interior (Wall), SD

  1. I love seeing all the pics- interesting stories too! As always, thx for sharing your travel adventures with those of us who don’t hit the road site seeing near as oten as you do!

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