Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Last Updated: January 28th, 2020

Park Information

Rating: ★★★★★(5/5) - Must Visit

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Home to desert-like rock formations formed by years of erosion, Badlands National Park is best known for its beautiful scenery. While most people experience the park via the scenic drive, there are several trails that provide even better views than available from your car. Camping is available in one developed campground near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center or in the primitive Sage Creek Campground.

There aren't as many developed trails here as you may find in other national parks, but the few available pack a punch. The Door Trail is one of the best easy trails, providing a viewpoint where you are surrounded by impressive rock formations. The Medicine Root Loop is a good hike to escape the crowds. For real solitude, however, you'll have to venture off-trail into the endless untouched badlands of the Stronghold Unit.

Hikes

The outstanding desert-like badlands formation at the end of the Door Trail
Door Trail
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★★(5/5)
The jagged pinnacles extend for miles
Pinnacles Overlook
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★★(5/5)
The expansive south-facing view from the top of the notch
Notch Trail
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★☆(4/5)
The undulating topography contained in the Medicine Root Loop
Saddle Pass to Medicine Root Loop
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★☆(4/5)
Spiky badlands formations in the distance
Fossil Exhibit Trail
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★☆(4/5)
The view from Cliff Shelf looking south with the trail continuing in the distance
Cliff Shelf Nature Trail Loop
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★☆(4/5)
Vast views of the badlands from Red Shirt Table
Red Shirt Table
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★★☆(4/5)
The end of this trail is a window into the awesome formations of the badlands
Window Trail
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
★★★☆☆(3/5)

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