Explore Alan 7/2014 Badlands and TRNP - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Alan 7/2014 Badlands and TRNP Map
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Hike is short and very steep, but not long. Amazing views of the black hills at the top

hiking
10 days ago

Did this hike yesterday with my husband, two children (ages 7,9) and our two dogs. Great terrain, a little bit of climbing which I love! Other than the thunderstorm wiith hail that we were caught in at the top of the trailhead it was wonderful!

Long hike but worth it. First part was a bit overgrown but only annoying. Snow/ice on trail was minimal but fine with caution. Few people except on the main BEP trail.

Good hike with kids. A few good vistas, a few good scrambles, good exploring among the spires at the end of the trail. We got lucky and saw a heard or mountain goats along the way.

This trail was worth every bit of hiking whenever you get to the top. It shows a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the needles. The view was breathtaking. The beginning of the trail was the most difficult, as it was all uphill. The end of the trail there was some rock climbing, so it made finding the trail a little difficult but once you made it, the view was incredible. Definitely recommend doing this trail.

Great hike. Had snow falling most of the time. Highly recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a fun hike. The rock scramble and rock stairs were awesome. This entire trail was very scenic with gorgeous views of the foliage. Definitely a quick and fun one. We got done in an hour and a half.

Disclaimer, we did not get a chance to view more than the start of the trail, but wanted to leave a helpful heads up:

The trail appears to be on property potentially used for grazing; the first part of our hike we spent dodging heaps of cow manure in matted down grass. We weren’t deterred until we ran into some fresh bear droppings and paw prints right up the trail.

Perhaps we’re more cautious than your average hikers, but those findings, combined with the fact the property is surrounded by barbed wire, were enough for us to just find a different spot to hike. :)

1 month ago

Very unique trail. We went out after a rain and it was extremely slick. But once we got back to the start it was dry. Rain makes for a very different trail experience. The trail crossed in front of big horned sheep that were grazing on a cliff . We did the medicine loop out and the castle trail back. This clocked in at 11.1 miles. Definitely do this early as there is very little shade and you are in full sun and wind exposure. Other than the slipperyness because of the rain it’s not hard or technical - the only hard part about it is 11 miles round-trip.

Somewhat narrow areas on the path. Ages3 and above will be ok on the path. Great views on the way to the falls!

Easy walk to a great falls. Not strenuous.

hiking
1 month ago

Great views, but felt a bit redundant along the way. Perfect way to see what the badlands has to offer. Don’t let the distance scare you off as this a very manageable hike if you are game for it.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice easy hike. About 2 miles total from Spearfish Canyon Lodge. We’ve hiked and snowshoed. A great hike before breakfast. We had fresh powder one morning and were the first one out on the trail. The falls were amazing to see with the ice and snow covering. Nice views from above the falls any time of year.

hiking
1 month ago

I'm giving this a "5" because of the sacredness of the canyon. It's unmistakable. Take it in. Really easy.

1 month ago

An amazing trail with a great view

great trail with good views.

nice trail with the falls on one end and a fish hatchery on the other end.

very enjoyable. lots of shade, challenges and scenery.

hiking
2 months ago

Interesting to walk through base of towering spires. Top/end of trail anticlimactic. Journey through spires best part of trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Gradual inclines with rock scramble near top. Beautiful 360 vista views at top. Quartz stones along trail provide good footings on slippery rocks. Seems like it'd be slippery if wet.

hiking
2 months ago

My friend and I did this hike last Saturday (9/1) and it was truly magnificent!

We started our hike around 3:30 pm after having lunch and driving for about 6 and 1/2 hours from Denver. It took roughly 3 and 1/2 hours to complete, which was perfect, as we got to catch an unforgettable sunset at Saddle Pass.

Unlike where the trail starts on the map, we started our trek at the Saddle Pass Trailhead. This is a steep 0.35 trail that connects to Castle Trail from the main road. It was definitely the most challenging part of our hike, as the vast majority of the trail to follow was exceptionally flat and had very little elevation gain.

It was quite warm when we began our trek (mid 80's), but cooled off significantly in the afternoon with some cloud cover and light rain. The few rain drops that fell at sunset caused many of the tourists who made the short jaunt up the hill to scamper back to their cars. But we stuck it out for the five minutes of sprinkles, and were quickly rewarded with a breathtaking sunset all to ourselves.

We extended our trek slightly at the midway point of the loop to include the short walk over to the Window (0.2 miles) and Door (0.8) Trail viewpoints. All in all, our journey ended up being around 8 miles round trip, as opposed to the 10.5 it would have been to complete the Castle Trail in its entirety.

This is a fantastically challenging and beautiful hike! I would suggest starting where we did and completing the "Lollipop Loop", as one of the park employees called it, which includes the Saddle Pass Trail, Castle Trail and Medicine Root Loop.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this with my husband, mom and three boys (9, 5, & 2). Easy walking, a little section of going through rocks. Really neat to see the spires as it’s not our usual scenery. Definitely a must do hike in Custer State Park. I would not considerate it to be a strenuous hike as many of the literature states.

Paved, very accessible and very easy. The falls are beautiful and this is a great place to get out and stretch your legs even if you are just passing through.

only did 2.6 from Palmer Gulch,South, burning daylight. beautiful views but should be a little more than moderate, IMHO. would like to experience the whole thing.

Great hike with some truly stunning views at the top. The last part is a bit challenging to get to the top with scrabbling up rocks, but really fun.

Awesome hike with a well worth it view. Thanks for sharing it.

Very fun rocky hike with gorgeous South Dakota views. The spires are unlike anything I've seen, and there's plenty of places to rock climb, even for the not-so-experienced rock climbers like myself. I did split open my knee on the way back down the trail to the parking lot so be sure to watch your step and take your time maneuvering the rocks along the way. Overall an extremely fun trip and I highly recommend it!

hiking
2 months ago

This trail has amazing scenery, from around the lake, up on the ridge, and down in the valley. Only problem was we kept finding ourselves losing the trail due to all the switchbacks and poorly marked trails. It ended up being a 16 mile hike in approx 7-8 hours. We started out in coon hollow going towards the flume trail head.

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