Badlands National Park Things to Do

  • Badlands National Park
    Badlands National Park
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  • Watch out for rattlesnakes!
    Watch out for rattlesnakes!
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  • An unusually green and flourishing Badlands
    An unusually green and flourishing...
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Best Rated Things to Do in Badlands National Park

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Cliff Shelf Trail

    by Toughluck Written Oct 28, 2011

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    This is a kid friendly trail. Boardwalks, lots of steps, and open foot paths. All drop-offs have railings and boardwalk. It's also about the only trail with trees, thus shade and a bit cooler. We were there on a rainy day. Yes, it does rain, but don't count on it. The trail winds through a cedar grove (Junipers to some). This area was undercut until the ground slumped, dropped, compressing the soils so that the rain (when it comes) does not run off, but sinks in and stays. Thus trees.

    It's short at a half mile (.8 km).

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    • Family Travel

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    The Wall

    by zrim Written Apr 6, 2003

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    The Wall

    With all due respect to Pink Floyd, this Wall is not coming down anytime soon. It rises out of the prairie like an eerie hobgoblin. Especially interesting to view at dawn or dusk as the light plays over the tortured landscape.

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    From the top of the Wall

    by zrim Written Apr 6, 2003

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    rugged landscape

    When entering the park from the north you will be on the top of the wall and can look south over the endless prairie that is broken only by the gruesome cliffs and valleys of this topographic anomaly.

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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Castle Trail

    by Toughluck Written Oct 28, 2011

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    This is a long trail, across the Prairies. It starts at either the Fossil Exhibit Parking area or the Trails Parking area near Cedar Pass. It's 5 miles (8 km) long, one way. All in the open. In October, the weather was great. Didn't need to worry about heat or needing lots of water. The rest of the year, take plenty of water and sunscreen.

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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Door Trail

    by Toughluck Updated Oct 28, 2011
    Boardwalk
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    The Door Trail provides for access to wheelchairs for the first 600 yd (abt 600 m). For those that are interested, there is an additiona half mile (abt 1km) walk out onto the tops of the canyons. There is no visible trail, only yellow posts about 2-3 ft high (60-90 cm). You can see the next post by standing near the post you can see. This leaves you the choice of various ways to wander out acorss the tops of the canyons.

    Note: In summer, check the safety notes and the warning flags. A half hour in August can give you sunstroke or heat prostration without taking proper cautions.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping

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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    The Notch

    by Toughluck Written Oct 28, 2011
    Trailhead
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    A 1.5 mile (2.8 km) trail through a canyon and out onto a shelf overlooking the Cliff Shelf. The first part of the trail is very easy. The path curves around and over low mounds of eroding soil. But once you reach the ladder (about half way), it changes. First, the ladder is just a series of logs tied together to provide footing up a step rise. May be 50 ft or 70 ft (about 17 m to 22 m). Then the path follows along a narrow ledge out through 'the notch' to an overlook.

    Don't go if it's wet, looks like rain, you have trouble climbing, balance problems, or not comfortable with heights.

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  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    Hiking: Castle Trail

    by HasTowelWillTravel Updated Jul 25, 2009
    Layers of Badlands formations
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    The Castle trail is the longest trail of the park, stretching 5 miles one-way as it winds through the badlands formations. and scattering across some prairie. It is a fairly level trail, with only slight uphills as you hike along. The scenery is really beautiful, passing the individual formations and small canyons. There is a good chance for wildlife viewing as well. I saw Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep and pronghorn while hiking.

    Total length: 10 miles round-trip (3-5 hours)
    Trail difficulty: moderate

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    Hiking: Medicine Root Trail

    by HasTowelWillTravel Written Jul 25, 2009
    me on the Medicine Root Trail
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    The Medicine Root Trail intersects the Castle Trail at two points, forming a small Castle-Medicine Root loop. 2.0 miles in length, the Medicine Root Trail weaves out of the formations and heads into more open prairie land. It gives a great vista of the Badlands, while roaming through the flowers of the midgrass prairie.

    Total length: 2.0 miles (one-way)
    Trail difficulty: easy

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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Flower

    by Basaic Written Nov 19, 2011

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    Flower

    The badlands is a desolate place but there is more life here than you may think. Come in the spring after a good rain and flowers will dot the desert terrain.

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    Burns Basin

    by Basaic Written Nov 22, 2011

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    Burns Basin
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    Burns Basin shows how the basically lifeless hills of the badlands can support a richer soil that allows these small patches of prairie to survive.

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    Sage Creek Basin

    by Basaic Written Nov 22, 2011

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    Sage Creek Basin
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    The last stop I toured was the Sage Creek Basin Overlook. It is just past the prairie dog town and is one of the better places to see Pronghorns.

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    Ancient Hunters

    by Basaic Written Nov 22, 2011

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    Ancient Hunters Viewpoint
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    Archeologists have found strong evidence that this area was used extensively for hunting about 1000 years ago.

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Badlands National Park Things to Do

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