Notch Trail

MODERATE 113 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

4 days ago

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

hiking
7 days 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!

7 days 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
14 days 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
19 days ago

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

hiking
20 days 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

2 months ago

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

hiking
5 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
5 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
7 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

8 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!

8 months ago

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

8 months ago

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

hiking
9 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.

9 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
9 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike, short but a lot of fun.

9 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
9 months ago

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

10 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
10 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
10 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.

10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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

11 months ago

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

11 months ago

Love it. It was a great hike!!

hiking
11 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.

11 months ago

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

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