Strangest landscape in the Oglala National Grassland!
Highway 2 leads north to Oglala National Grassland, home of pronghorn, turkey, mule deer and burrowing owls.
Toadstool Geologic Park is regarded as a strange landscape within the grassland. Sediment layers deposited by ancient volcanoes have eroded at different rates, leaving sandstone formations perched on clay stems. Early residents referred to the formations as toadstools. The park has a trail, picnic and camping areas and a reconstructed sod house. Go five miles north from Crawford on Highway 2, then 10 miles northwest on Toadstool Road. Take it slow, these non-hardsurfaced roads can be challenging – especially after a rain.
There’s more mystery here. People thought rancher Albert Meng had found thousands of sheep bones. He and friend Bill Hudson had scientists take a look. It turned out the bones were the remains of more than 600 ancient bison.
Nearly 50 years later the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center is open to the public, and the 10,000-year-old bones are still being studied by researchers.
Because of stone tools discovered here, many scientists believe Paleo-Indians ambushed and then killed the bison. Some of the bones seem to show signs of cuts from stone blades. Other experts disagree. Further excavations may reveal answers or more questions. The Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center is south of Toadstool Park. On Toadstool Road, turn on Sand Creek Road and go six miles. Open mid-May through September. Please allow meandering cattle and rattlesnakes the right of way.
For more information about Crawford and vicinity, contact the Crawford Chamber of Commerce at (866) 665-1817.