Doggin ‘Toadstool Geological Park: Walk with Your Dog in the Badlands of Nebraska


America’s badlands got its ominous name when the first settlers found it

impossible to safely roll a chariot through the cracked lunar landscape in the Upper Midwest. Our most famous badlands are preserved in the national parks of the Dakotas, and are off-limits to canine hikers.

To give your dog the opportunity to explore these unique lands of sculpted rock,

head south from the Dakotas to the lesser-known badlands of Nebraska

beg. Here at Gala National Grasslands, you will find

Toadstool Geologic Park, where the relentless team of water and wind has

he sculpted fantastic rock formations on the bare hills.

The “poisonous mushrooms” form when the underlying soft clay stone erodes faster than the

hard sandstone that finishes it off. You can walk your dog on a mile-long marked trail

interpretive loop that takes you on an educational adventure through these

we stopped. Your dog is welcome on the hard rock trail but can explore too

the way to look closely in the ravines at the fragments of fossil bones that bind the

rocks and 30 million-year-old footprints preserved in the stone.

There are some rocks to climb along the route, but this walk underneath

Banded cliffs of clay and ash is suitable for any level of canine hiker. There is only

sporadic shade and seasonal streams on this former riverbed, so bring plenty of

water for your dog, especially in the summer months. Take a break at the end of

the walk in the small fenced yard of the replica grass house next to the parking lot


For extended dog walks, Toadstool Park connects to the world famous

Hudson-Meng Bison Boneyard via a three-mile trail. This archaeological site seeks

unravel the mystery of how more than 600 bison died nearly 10,000 years ago in one area

about the size of a football stadium. Human predation is the main suspect.

Toadstool Geological Park is located 19 miles NW of Crawford, Nebraska, USA.

Forest Route 904 off State Highway 2/71. The trail starts at the back of the six

camping drive.

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