Explore the most popular wildlife trails in Badlands National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

A little slippery with the mist/rain, but that made it more fun in my opinion. Only ended up doing about a mile out and a mile back due to time constraints, but would go back and do the whole thing! Great views and amazing landscape everywhere you look.

hiking
1 day ago

Can be a little slippery when raining or misty, but great views of the canyons and formations. Easy to find your way from blaze to blaze, but gives you the freedom to roam and view what you want!

hiking
22 days ago

Would be a 3 star, but you can do some exploring in the canyon area in the 2nd half of the hike which bumps it up to a 4. Good view at the end, but not too different from what you can see at the viewpoint at the much shorter Cliff Shelf trail nearby. Cool landscape all around of course.

Log ladder is fun. Much slower going down than up. Could slow you down if you're trying to go up while another group is going down or vice versa as there's really only room for traffic to be going in one direction at a time.

Trail is listed as moderately strenuous but I would say it is easy, with the ladder being the only slightly challenging portion.

hiking
24 days ago

Nice family friendly hike with a good view at the end. Take water!

hiking
27 days ago

Packs in a lot of scenery for such a short hike!

1 month ago

Short but fun. Log ladder is more memorable than the view at the top.

Easy, flat. You get a good look at some of the formations and Saddle Pass is a great point to stop for some pictures. Trail itself was pretty muddy in spots but nothing treacherous.

Lots of fun when we were there in June. A very easy flat hike with fun blazes to follow since a distinct trial isn’t cut into the ground.

Very nice flat trail out onto the upper table of the badlands and back. Tons of fun foliage and lots of tracks from sheep and other wildlife. We were there in early June so it was exceptionally sunny and hot. Definitely pack extra sunscreen and water for this trail during the warm part of the year.

4 months ago

Fun hike. My son enjoyed “trailblazing” from one post to the next (single digit temps with wind and snow flurries). Great views.

hiking
4 months ago

Took my son on this hike yesterday. Fun winter hike. Even with the single digit temps, blustery winds, and snow, the trail was nice. Ridge line was a little tenuous in spots due to the snow, but very manageable.

hiking
4 months ago

Best to do early in the day before it's too hot or crowded. Ladder is interesting (coming down is more difficult than going up). Views are gorgeous.

hiking
6 months ago

Probably one of my favorite trails in Badlands. It's not too difficult except the beginning. For those who are terrified of heights, be warned! There is a wooden ladder you have to go up on to finish this trail. Not too far from the beginning of the trail. It's worth it and overall a great view of rocks, wildlife, and structure. Great overlook as well

hiking
6 months ago

This trail is short and simple. Anyone can do it. Wouldn't really do it again because nothing too impressive compared to the other trails

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful sunny day to those who persevered the windstorm at the time. Big horned sheep were along the trail on the way back. Flat for nearly the whole stretch. Very enjoyable.

hiking
7 months ago

Tough get go but, beautiful hike and saw big horned sheep! You have to hike this trail.

7 months ago

The trail is listed as moderate to strenuous, however, the only mildly difficult portion involves climbing a log ladder up at an awkward angle. There are 2 different viewpoints near the end. A great hike if you only have a few hours in the park!

7 months ago

Marvelous trail. Takes a good amount of effort. But worth every step at the end.

7 months ago

Short Trail but great vistas at the end. Lots of roaming available. Impressively quite, even when others are around.

If you do Door then you can miss this one. Similar views. Kids liked running down the boardwalk and balancing their way back.

Loved this trail. I would rate it as easy, even with kiddos. No packs needed. Our two toddlers walked the whole thing easily. 12 posts including end of trail marker. Lets you get a feel for the geography of the park.

hiking
8 months ago

Lots of beautiful views of the Badland formations on a well marked and fairly easy trail. The only thing that makes it difficult is the heat which reached 103 the day we hiked. Saw a couple of mule deer. Overall enjoyable but wouldn't hike the full trail again unless as it gets somewhat monotonous on the way back.

This trail had amazingly beautiful views every way you turned. Seen big horned sheep multiple times.

hiking
8 months ago

This trail had amazingly beautiful views every way you turned. Seen big horned sheep multiple times.

walking
8 months ago

Great views and short walk to get amazing photos.

8 months ago

We hiked from both trail heads 2 different days and hiked about 2.5 miles in each direction. East trailhead (near lodge) is along the base of high buttes with great views of formations. Some climbing. Trail markings red fiberglass poles regularly, but very easy to miss second pole at entrance because it is at top of a butte you have to climb to. We missed it and got very lost by following what we thought was another path. We would have bee in trouble if we had not downloaded trail on this app and used GPS. West entrance was even worse at beginning. Third trail pole is in middle of large open flat area and you can't see next marker which is high on top of butte. We again got lost. When you get to this third pole. Make hard right to left edge of butte and you will see path to left and up butte. Next couple of miles is easy path through grasslands and well marked. Gorgeous expansive views of formations and miles of prairie.

Bottom line: if you don't see red pole every 50-100 yards you are probably lost. Download map on app and take phone. Works even if no cell reception.

hiking
8 months ago

We hopped onto this trail from Saddle Pass. It is well marked and mostly flat so the walk was very enjoyable and scenic with views of tall rock formations, cactus, canyons, meadows and some wildlife! We went off trail often to explore rockier areas with canyon views. We ran across sheep and deer.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail! Loved the wooden stairs to climb and the view is beautiful. This is a great hike when it's too hot to do a real long trail but still get the effect of the Badlands. I would recommend. One bottle of water will suffice for this hike.

hiking
8 months ago

The best hike in the Badlands.

Being the longest trek, you have most of the trail entirely to yourself, giving you plenty of opportunities to soak in the Badlands unique geology and character. It carries you under the shadow of rocky spires and along endless stretches of golden prairie. There is shade to be found, but only if you start early/late enough in the day to let the sun sit on one side of the rocks. Even then, in the hotter months, this trail can be draining, so bring plenty of water.

It's not as spectacular as some of the formations you pass through on the Scenic Loop drive, but the Castle Trail is easily the most expansive and enjoyable hike in the Badlands.

I didn't think it was that great. We did Castle Trail first then this. A nice trail for someone wanting a short hike but we could have done without it after our 8 mile hike we already did. Ladder was short and fairly easy. Took us about 30-40 minutes round trip.

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