The Great American Road Trip: The Badlands – Notch Trail
This hike is short and sweet, up a canyon to an overlook with expansive views over the White River Valley and The Great Plains. The hike is 1.5 miles round trip with 125 feet of elevation gain and the dirt path is marked by reflective poles. Albeit short, this trail offers plenty of adventure with a steep wooden ladder and a portion of the trail tracing a cliff’s edge.
This was a great mini hike and we took our time exploring off the trail nooks and crannies. I must say that I hated the ladder part. I get very nervous about heights when it’s up to me to hold myself to the ledge. Yikes! The ladder is also made of steel wires and wooden logs which get very very hot in the midday sun. But you suck it up, go one rung at a time and the view at the top is always worth it!
*Avoid hiking this trail during or after heavy rainfall. The Badlands has extremely dry and dusty soil which turns into slippery mud during storms.
To get to the trailhead: Take Badlands Loop Road (Route 240) two miles east of the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to a large pullout on the east side of the road for Door, Window, and Notch Trails. The Notch Trail begins from the south end of the lot.
Trailhead address: Badlands Loop Road (SD 240), Badlands National Park, Interior, SD57750
Trailhead coordinates: 43.760119, -101.928251 (43° 45′ 36.42″N 101° 55′ 41.70″W)