Have you ever wanted to explore the spectacular scenery of Badlands National Park? With its undulating grasslands, colorful spires, and deep gorges, it’s no wonder that so many travelers are drawn to this majestic park. In this article, we’ll be sharing our favorite hikes in Badlands, ones we revisit every year!
From steep but rewarding trails to more leisurely strolls, there’s something for everyone here. So grab your gear and get ready for a journey through one of the most beautiful parks in America!
The Notch Trail
The Notch Trail is one of the most popular trails in Badlands National Park. It is a 1.5 mile out-and-back trail that starts at the Pinnacles Entrance Station and ends at the Notch Visitor Center. The trailhead is located just off of the main road, making it easily accessible for day hikers.
The first half mile of the trail is relatively flat as it follows alongside a creek. The second half of the trail becomes much steeper as it ascends up to the Notch Visitor Center. At the top, hikers are treated to stunning views of the badlands formations and can see for miles in all directions.
This is an easy hike that can be completed by people of all ages and fitness levels. However, due to its popularity, it can become quite crowded during peak season. If you are looking for a less crowded hiking experience, try visiting during the shoulder seasons or weekday mornings.
The Castle Trail
The Castle Trail in Badlands National Park is one of the most popular trails in the park. The trailhead is located at the north end of the park, near the town of Interior.
The trail winds its way through some of the most scenic and remote parts of the park, including the South Unit and North Unit. Along the way, hikers will be treated to stunning views of the badlands, as well as a variety of wildlife.
The Castle Trail is a moderate hike, with an elevation gain of approximately 500 feet. The trail is well-marked and there are several places along the way where hikers can rest and take in the views. The hike typically takes between 4-6 hours to complete, depending on your pace.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, the Castle Trail is sure to impress. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next hike today!
The Saddle Pass Hike
Whether you’re a first-time hiker or an experienced trailblazer, hiking the Saddle Pass in Badlands National Park is an adventure you won’t soon forget. This popular trailhead offers stunning views of the surrounding badlands, as well as opportunities to see wildlife up close.
The Saddle Pass trail is located in the southwestern region of the park and is accessible from both the Pinnacles Entrance and the Interior Entrance. The trailhead is well-marked and easily visible from both entrances. From the Pinnacles Entrance, it’s a short 0.4 miles to the saddle, while from the Interior Entrance, it’s about 1.6 miles. The roundtrip hike is about 3 miles in total.
The trail itself is relatively flat and easy to follow. It winds its way through some of the most beautiful parts of the badlands landscape, including colorful canyons and towering buttes. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and other wildlife that call this place home.
Hiking the Saddle Pass in Badlands National Park is an unforgettable experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
The Fossil Exhibit Trail
The Fossil Exhibit Trail is a great way to learn about the history of Badlands National Park. So don’t forget your camera—you’re sure to get some amazing photos along the way!
Hiking the Fossil Exhibit Trail in Badlands National Park is a must for any nature lover. This easy, one-mile loop hike leads you past some of the most incredible fossilized remains in the world. You’ll see the remains of ancient creatures that lived millions of years ago, as well as the tracks they left behind.
The trail is well-marked and easy to follow. It starts at the Fossil Exhibit Area and winds through a beautiful landscape of hills and canyons. You’ll have stunning views of the White River Valley along the way. The trail ends back at the Fossil Exhibit Area, where you can learn more about the fossils you’ve just seen.
Hiking the Fossil Exhibit Trail is a great way to experience Badlands National Park. It’s an easy hike that’s perfect for all ages and abilities. And it’s a great way to learn about our planet’s fascinating history.
The Cliff Shelf Nature Trail
Badlands National Park is home to the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail, a 3.4-mile moderate hike that takes you through some of the most impressive views in the park. The trailhead is located near the overlook at the top of the Wall and from there, you’ll follow along the edge of the cliff for about a mile before descending into a canyon.
You’ll then hike along a boardwalk through a marshy area before climbing back up to the top of the cliff. The entire hike should take you about 3-4 hours to complete.
The Cliff Shelf Nature Trail is one of the best ways to experience Badlands National Park. The views from atop the cliffs are absolutely breathtaking, and hiking down into the canyon gives you a completely different perspective of the landscape. This is a must-do hike when visiting Badlands National Park!
The Window Trail
Badlands National Park is home to one of the most unique and breathtaking landscapes in the United States. The Window Trail is a must-see when visiting the park. The trailhead is located just south of the parking area for the Notch Visitor Center.
The Window Trail is a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike with moderate elevation gain. The trail takes you through a canyon and up to a viewpoints overlooking the White River Valley. Along the way, you’ll see colorful rock formations, including cliffs, pinnacles, and buttes.
The Window Trail is one of the most popular trails in Badlands National Park, so be prepared for crowds during peak season (May-September). If you can, visit during weekday morning hours to avoid the crowds. And be sure to bring plenty of water, as there is no water available along the trail.
The Door Trail
Badlands National Park is one of the most unique and beautiful places in the United States. The landscape is unlike anything else in the world, and the hiking trails are simply incredible. The Door Trail is one of the most popular trails in Badlands National Park, and for good reason.
This trail takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the park, including towering rock formations, colorful badlands, and expansive views. The trail is also relatively short, making it a great option for hikers of all levels.
The Door Trail starts off from the Door parking lot, where you’ll pick up a self-guiding brochure. This will help guide you along the trail and provide more insight into the landscape and geology of Badlands National Park.
As you hike, you’ll pass through boulder-strewn canyons and eerie scenes created by centuries of erosion. After about 1 mile, you’ll reach the historic double arch known as “The Door”. This unique formation is a must-see on any visit to Badlands National Park.
After exploring The Door, continue on the trail for another 0.5 miles to reach the end at Big Foot Pass. From here, you can take in sweeping views of the surrounding badlands before heading back to your car.
The entire loop is only around 2 miles long and should take no more than 2 hours to complete (depending on how often you stop). The terrain is relatively moderate in difficulty but be prepared for some elevation changes along the way.
Whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside, hiking the Door Trail in Badlands National Park is an unforgettable experience. With its stunning scenery and abundant wildlife, this trail provides something for everyone who loves to explore the outdoors.
Guided tours to explore the Badlands National Park
There are few places on Earth as unique and mesmerizing as the Badlands National Park. Hiking through these strange and beautiful landscapes is an experience you’ll never forget.
Guided tours are a great way to explore the park and learn about its geology, plants, and animals. The park offers a variety of tours, ranging from short walks to multi-day treks. No matter what your fitness level or hiking experience is, there’s a tour that’s perfect for you.
Hiking the Badlands is an unforgettable experience that will take your breath away. With over 400 miles of trails to explore, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape and diverse wildlife all year long. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, these 7 spectacular trails have something for everyone. So if you’re looking for a picturesque escape, be sure to add The Badlands to your list!