Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Speaking of video game world maps, you won’t find any natural formation that looks quite as artificial as the Badlands. Their undisturbed prairie grasses are surrounded by impossibly steep sedimentary rock buttes, defined by their streaky layers of pink, beige, and orange. The sharp height difference creates a unique landscape and awesome trails.
Shade can be hard to come by in the Badlands, so there’s no such thing as a leisurely hike here. But beginners would do best with the 4.5-mile Medicine Root Loop, which offers killer views of bison herds and the rocks along its modest length. If you want a workout, try the Saddle Pass trail, a quarter-mile hike that has you climbing boulders.