Notch Trail

MODERATE 92 reviews
#2 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

5 days ago

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

hiking
3 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
3 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
5 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

6 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!

6 months ago

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

6 months ago

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

hiking
7 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.

7 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months ago

Very easy and short but worth it for the scenic views and the unique rope ladder.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike, short but a lot of fun.

7 months ago

We absolutely loved this trail, and I recommend it heartily. The log ladder and the few spots of ledge hiking added a lot of excitement to it, and the view at the end is spectacular.

However, I do not agree with the "easy" rating. I think that would be misleading to novices or others less sure-footed. In fact, the sign at the trailhead itself says "not recommended for those with a fear of heights... moderate to strenuous... rough terrain."

hiking
7 months ago

With a deathly fear of heights, I don't recommend this hike without a buddy.

8 months ago

Great little Badlands "sampler." If you only have time for one hike, I recommend this one. Experience the different types of rock that make up the Badlands along the way, then enjoy a beautiful view at the end. Shaded in the evening.

hiking
8 months ago

Great views! Don't need the ladder going up but used it going down... luckily right before it started raining and pouring on us.

hiking
8 months ago

Was a great hike! Easily one of the best in the park. It was a fun and moderately challenging hike. The ladder adds a sense of adventure, but still feels very safe. Saw a heard of bighorns just off the trail. Very cool! Some tricky footing in parts, but with appropriate footwear it's not too bad. There are two overlooks at the end, both with gorgeous views of the Badlands. Definitely worth it. As you come up over the ridge as the landscape opens up before you, it commands attention and awe. Couldn't help but sit there for a while just to take it in.

8 months ago

Loved this trail. Some parts are tricky and the ladder is a bit scary but so worth it!!!

8 months ago

Fun and only difficult in parts. The ladder was fun for my 6 year old.

9 months ago

Nice easy trail. Kids 8 and 10 did with no difficulty. We did early morning, so not too hot.

9 months ago

Love it. It was a great hike!!

hiking
9 months ago

Easy hike with kids (8 year old twin boys) they likes the ladder and the rocks to climb on. Nice view of the valley from the end of the trail. There are markers along the trail as well that help keep you on track.

9 months ago

Must do with kids! The only complaint I have is that it's difficult to tell where/when this trail ends.

9 months ago

Easy going but for that one climb up the ladder. So much fun, lots of great views. Lots of loose gravel so heed the sign and wear ankle boots if you can. They saved me on a few slips. Lady ahead of us slipped on some at the very end and really hurt her ankle.

9 months ago

Easy going but for that one climb up the ladder. So much fun, lots of great views. Lots of loose gravel so heed the sign and wear ankle boots if you can. They saved me on a few slips. Lady ahead of us slipped on some at the very end and really hurt her ankle.

10 months ago

When we arrived at the ladder there were some very slow people on it so we chose to scramble up another way. Thought I might slide down a time or two which was a little nerve wracking but made it. My thighs burned for days. Once up it's a beautiful and easy hike around. Did take the ladder on the way down climbing facing backwards just like a ladder. I'm afraid of heights and it wasn't bad though some distances between the steps was a stretch and I have 35" inseam legs.

hiking
10 months ago

I'm excited anytime I get to climb something. In this case, a ladder. From there you get to walk on cliff edges and there's a nice view at the end. I had fun the entire time on this trail. Probably the best trail in the park, though of course there aren't many!

11 months ago

Good starter hike upon arriving in South Dakota. Great job by the Park Service marking and maintaining the trail.

hiking
11 months ago

Good starter hike upon arriving in South Dakota. Great job by the Park Service marking and maintaining the trail.

11 months ago

Awesome trail definitely more of a moderate to difficult trail though because of the climb (if you want to see the whole thing). Wouldn't really recommend taking kids under 8 up the trail but superb views and well worth making the trip.

hiking
Thursday, October 06, 2016

Great short hike. Good way to get an up close look at some of the features in the Badlands. Worth the time. Also saw some bighorn sheep right next to the parking lot!!

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