Hikes in Badlands National Park
Located in southwest South Dakota, the Badlands could not look more different than the surrounding Great Plains. The contrast between Badlands buttes and the surrounding prairie grasses make this a very dramatic national park. Early French trappers and earlier Native Americans gave this landscape similar names meaning “bad lands.” This rough terrain of eroded spires and pinnacles must have been hell for travelers in centuries past. Today, roadways make it easy to explore and enjoy the Badlands, even if you have limited time in the park.
There is a $15 entrance fee to access Badlands National Park and there are two campgrounds within the 380-square mile park. Cedar Pass Campground is the principal place to camp with 96 standard sites and four group sites. Sage Creep Primitive Campground is situated on an unpaved road in a remote area on the west side of the park and lacks amenities like potable water.
Campgrounds in Badlands National Park
Cedar Pass Campground | 96 sites | open year-round | reservations accepted | $15 per night | $28 per night with electric hook-ups. | potable water, covered picnic tables, fire grates, dump station, and flush toilets | elevation 2,400 feet
Sage Creek Primitive Campground | 15 sites | open year-round | first-come first serve | no fee | Pit toilets and covered picnic tables | no water | no campfires | elevation 2,500 feet
Trails in Badlands National Park
This one-mile hike passes through a gap in Badlands Wall to a viewing platform followed by a cross-country path into the rugged badlands.
This level 0.25-mile round trip hike leads to an opening in Badlands Wall overlooking the rugged landscape beyond.
This adventurous 1 1/3-mile hike travels up a badlands canyon to an elevated overlook with views over the Great Plains.
|Cliff Shelf Nature Trail|
This half-mile hike loops through a juniper forest on the south side of the Badlands Wall, reaching a viewpoint below the notch.