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Hike the Badlands' Notch Trail

Interior, South Dakota

based on 12 reviews


Added by Spud Groshong

1.5 Mile Out and Back. 125 foot elevation gain. Sketchy ledge walking. Ladder. Gorgeous view of at the end.

Notch Trail is on the south end of the Door Trail car park.

The Trail sorta follows a dry river bed but there is also a actual trail you can also follow. It winds through the gulch and about half a mile or so you come to a 50 foot ladder. The ladder is a pretty easy climb up but can be a little more difficult on the way down.

Beyond the ladder is a bit about 50 yards or so the trail gets very close to the edge and those with a fear of heights may be sketched out too much, about 100 feet into this part my brother and i found an older woman tucked into the shade waiting for her friend who had gone on with out her cause she was afraid of falling.

After the cliff part you enter a gulch that feels like you could be on mars. It ends with a views of Cedar Pass and the prairie below

Also right in this part of the park are Door Trail (.75 miles)and Window Trail (.25 miles) both out and back.

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Hike the Badlands' Notch Trail Reviews

My grandma and I did this together and it was tough but very worth it. Two hiking poles and good boots (and no fear of heights) absolutely necessary.

This trail is amazing! We hiked it with our newly turned 5 yr old and 8 yr old. They're avid, experienced hikers and had zero trouble completing any of the obstacles we came across. At the end of the trail, you'll be greeted by a spectacular view! Definitely do not miss.

The trail is short, unique, and I love the ladder. It’s a very trafficked section of the park and in my opinion there are more peaceful areas. However it is quick so I would give it a go if you have the time. I would not do if you have a fear of heights, I saw many panicked children trying to climb down the ladder when I was there.

This hike is a nice intro to the park but be sure to see the viewpoints along the rim drive. Aside from the cool ladder, be on the lookout for fossils to report to the park service so they can dig them up and recognize you for the discovery.

This was a really cool hike! The ladder is about 50 feet. It was less sketchy going up than coming down! Once you're up, you still have to be mindful of drops and ledges along the trail, so I wouldn't recommend this for young kids.

Easy hike, not too strenuous, nice view. We did this hike pretty much 10 minutes before the sunset and jogged and speed walked and were able to catch the sunset, and then it was easy enough to make it down in the dusky light.

Leave No Trace

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Window Trail in Badlands NP

Hike the Castle/Medicine Root Trail in Badlands National Park

Door Trail in Badlands NP

Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

Drive the Sage Creek Rim Road

Saddle Pass Trail

Go Great Places in South Dakota

In the Mount Rushmore state, travels to South Dakota are full of one-of-a-kind adventure with wide-open spaces as endless as the horizons. Between legendary landscapes and scenic drives, you can always find space that shifts life into park. When you’re ready, go great places.

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