Notch Trail

MODERATE 155 reviews
#1 of 8 trails in

Notch Trail is a 1.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Interior, South Dakota that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
1.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
118 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

washed out

no shade

no dogs

hiking
5 days ago

A nice hike there. The field in the end of the trail is great. Another thing impressed me is the ladder in the trail. It's exciting and funny.

hiking
8 days ago

One of my favorite views! the Badlands is my favorite place to be and this is one of those hikes with great views and though it's moderate it's well worth the hike! Make sure to have lots of water with you too, as it can get extremely warm even in the shade.

hiking
11 days ago

Fun trail! I really like the ladder!

12 days ago

Short fun hike with a bit of everything that the Badlands has to offer, except prairie.

hiking
16 days ago

Fun trail! I had a really good time on this short hike, but it had an amazing view at the end which made it a must!

hiking
23 days ago

Fun trail! Bring lots and lots of water. I thought the ladder was fun, but if you really want to avoid it, it’s possible to go around and climb up the rocks to the left.

hiking
27 days ago

Super cool. My favorite part was the rope ladder.

28 days ago

Great hike! There were a lot of people on the trail when we went. The ladder isn't too bad at all, just heavily trafficked. Really enjoyed this one! Short and easy.

30 days ago

This trail was an incredible trail that should be a must-do for everyone that have never been to the Badlands and only have one day to get the most out of it. It provides a nice flat trail through the grasses (beware of rattlesnakes) and leads up to the ladder. It’s easy going up but can be difficult descending. It gets strenuous right around there having you traverse around a very steep cliff into a canyon. But after that, the valley opens up and your in another world full of endless discoveries and a grand view to make a cherry on top of a great cake.

1 month ago

There were 8 of us and we loved the trail. Temp was 90+ but no shade.Bring plenty of water. The ladder was real interesting going down. Found out my 25 year old son is afraid of ladders. It freaked him out. Enjoy!

1 month ago

Great hike with a gorgeous view at the end. Follow the metal posts with white paint tips - took us a bit of time to figure out that was the trail marker. The ladder wasn’t bad, going down was a little trickier. Take water! It doesn’t seem like a very long hike, but each of us almost went through our 2Ls we had on our backs. It was close to 100degrees with no shade along the way. Enjoy!

1 month ago

Great view at the end of the trail. Be prepared for a pause in the trail when you get to the wooden ladder. Takes a while to wait for people to go up and down. We just found a route around it but I wouldn’t recommend doing that.

1 month ago

First the ladder isn’t as bad as it looks. The only problem I had was going down... short legs make it harder to reach and for some reason it freaked me out and I’m nowhere near afraid of heights or anything really. I will say to explore at the top past the markers! The views were amazing, and it would have been even better if there was significant water, I’ll have to plan my next trip to SD better.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail was fun and wasn’t too hard. The ladder isn’t for the faint of heart BUT isn’t as bad as it looks. The view is very nice when you get to top of ladder, but not a totally good view for sunset photos. You can follow a rough trail along the top which I heard leads to a better view but we didn’t feel confident to take that.
We saw families with kids as young as 4 or 5 climbing the ladder so if your kids like to explore,Like to climb and are not afraid of heights it might be a good trail for the whole family. Just need to be careful of loose gravel when you get to the top of ladder and keep small children within reach.

1 month ago

Great short hike to do in Badlands! Very easy with a set of man made stairs/ladder that could be rated moderate if you are scared of heights. They views are amazing and the trail is marked fairly often and easy to follow.

hiking
1 month ago

Super fun, short, and easy! I had a blast running around and exploring the area like I was a little kid again

2 months ago

Great trail for my kids and I to do!!!
We all loved it!!

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great hike. Don't let the ladder intimidate you. We noticed numerous hikers simply turn around once they saw the ladder. if you do, you'll miss out on a great view. Some boulders to scramble. The trails is well marked, black posts as you go along. Pay attention to the signage if you have kids with you, they can fall in a few areas. As you get to the notch be prepared for the wind, it really comes through there. You'll be looking down on the Badlands and it's very pretty. Our five year old was able to handle the ladder, just took a little time with him. Hope you enjoy it!

2 months ago

Fun trail little trail, probable got through it in about an hour. Little crowded today, but once we got out on the trail it wasn't bad. Saw two big horn sheep, that made it worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is like a metaphor for life. Mostly you just walk along, but occasionally the magical and unexpected appears just around the corner. It's worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Ladder was the only fun part. rest of the hike was very similar to other hikes in the area.

hiking
2 months ago

Short hike along a wash (theoretically there is a waterfall...but there’s gotta be a lot more water...and we are here 12 hours after a huge storm) and up a log ladder to a cliff. Nice views, interesting rocks. Ladder is fairly steep and rocky terrain makes this not an easy trail.

hiking
3 months 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
3 months ago

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

4 months ago

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

hiking
7 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
7 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
9 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

10 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!

10 months ago

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

Load More