Castle Trail

MODERATE 188 reviews
#2 of 10 trails in

Castle Trail is a 10.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Interior, South Dakota that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 10.5 miles Elevation Gain: 314 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

no dogs

hiking
5 days ago

Long, hot but the views are worth it. We started at fossil trail and went to door and back. Stayed on Castle because of snake report on Medicine Root from another hiker. Also, Castle has more rock than prairie views. Trail is hard and uneven which is hard on ankles. Prairie grass is high. Bring bug spray!!

hiking
muddy
no shade
over grown
10 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Enjoyed. Started at Fossil Trail parking. Hiked it to do Door and Window Trails and did Medicine Root Trail on way back. No shade. Saw a lot of bighorn.

hiking
21 days ago

Wide open, beautiful wild flowers for much of the hike and opportunities to see wildlife. Very flat but super cool views

Well marked flat trail, I saw some Bighorn Sheep near the West end of the trail.

hiking
26 days ago

Great hike. After the first 3/4 miles from the Fossil parking lot entrance, you walk through brush up to your shoulders. Then it is stunning all the way to where it crosses the road. If you’re going to walk end to end, don’t come back via Medicine root trail. It it all brush again but no reward because there is no rock, just grasslands. Not much mud anymore. Most people in May complained of mud because the region had gotten more rain in the month than they do usually in a year, a ranger said. If you’re going to go right after rain, I would expect it to be muddy in parts. But only parts.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
muddy
no shade
1 month ago

Camped near the formation canyon about a mile east of the castle. It was dope AF. Trail is flat and easy. Your feet are gonna get a little nasty but the views are worth it.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

This trail will teach you the meaning of the word swamp. It'll also let you truly experience and appreciate the Badlands for all they are.

2 months ago

Good, though long hike. We started at saddle pass trailhead and did the .25 hike up and ended with it down. Great views the entire time

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

Great trail to see a wide array of the Badlands. I hiked from the notch trail and took the medicine root on the way out, then to the west end of the castle trail and took the castle trail back. The conditions were very sloppy as the region was still recovering from a late snowfall and overnight rain storms. I used trekking poles and would have fallen for sure without them. Sections of the muddy trail we're almost as slick as ice. I hiked the notch trail first, then completed this loop.

hiking
2 months ago

My favorite hike in the park. Easy yet long hike, loved watching the Bighorn sheep off in the distance.

The scenery is beautiful but becomes boring and plain. the trail is not moderate but easy. It is very long and that makes the boring part worse. Decent workout.

hiking
7 months ago

not bad but I want from Notch Trail trail head towards Old Ne. I wish I had time to go furthee

hiking
7 months ago

badlands very neat place in this world...

9 months 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.

hiking
9 months 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
10 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.

11 months ago

We hiked the castle trail to the medicine trail. We had some trouble at the beginning of trail starting near the north entrance. There weren't enough trail markers--we would end up at an open area with no idea which way to go & ended up at a couple of dead ends. The rest of the trail was well-marked and a mostly easy hike. It took us 2:36 to hike out to Medicine, then come back along Castle (we didn't hike the whole castle).

hiking
11 months ago

Gorgeous trek! We were lucky that it had rained the previous night so there was water flowing in streams and it was still relatively cool. Lots of color in rock, grass and flowers. My daughter found many small fossils along the way. .

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail, was an awesome way to see the Badlands up close and personal. Canyons and formations you'd have no other way to see, plus some truly spectacular vistas over the Badlands if you venture off trail a bit - just be respectful of the wildlife and plant life if you do! Saddle Pass detour was totally worth it, great views and a fun little climb up one of the edges of the saddle. Medicine Root is a nice way to go back, you're up a little higher, so you don't do as much up and down and you can see more, so it's an overall faster trip. Did this in the middle of June and it got very warm after noon, so we were glad for the quicker trip back.

Monday, July 09, 2018

do the full trail. and loop up on the medicine trail to see more grass land

Sunday, June 10, 2018

This is an interesting and beautiful hike. The terrain is not particularly challenging but the intense sunshine, heat and winds adds to it’s difficulty. Being plenty of water. Expect to lose sight of the markers and become disoriented. When that occurs, I recommend going back to the last maker and scan the horizon for then next one and all will be fine. This trial offers exceptional views of the rock formations, wildlife and prairie vegetation.

hiking
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Took Saddle Pass to Medicine Root to this trail to return, doing a loop. Brings you up close to rock structures and canyons, at points slightly difficult to find markers but a truly enjoyable experience.

hiking
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Flat and easy trail, but the heat and thunderstorm previous night made it difficult. Wonderful way to experience the Badlands.

hiking
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It was pretty. We got beat up pretty good with heavy rains and heavy winds. We didn’t make it the entire trail. Camped one night and headed out

hiking
Thursday, May 24, 2018

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.

Load More

Featured Trails