Things to do in Badlands National Park

Top Things to Do in Badlands National Park

Things to Do in Badlands National Park

Top Attractions in Badlands National Park


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Tours, activities and experiences bookable on Tripadvisor, ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, popularity, user preferences, price, and bookings made through Tripadvisor.
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What travellers are saying

  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    The approximately 30-mile Badlands Loop Road takes you to all the main overlooks and trailheads in the North Unit of Badlands National Park. It also passes the visitor center and a restaurant.

    Even without all the stops, the drive itself offers stunning views. At times you will be surrounded by multicolored spires, pinnacles, buttes, and gorges, and at other times you will be surrounded by open grasslands. In addition to the specatular landscape, you are likely to see bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and other wildlife. We drove it from east to west, but it really doesn't matter which way you go.

    I highly recommed this drive. It really is a must if you want to experience Badlands National Park.
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    The Badlands Wall was carved by the White River and runs roughly east and west. It is essentially the line of erosional features with all the spectacular shapes and colors that make up the stunning views in the North Unit of Badlands National Park. You are driving along the wall on the Badlands Loop Road. The Badlands Wall separates an upper prairie to the north from a much lower prairie to the south, at times offering spectacular views across the wall to the valley below. Enjoy!
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • hdempsey
    Washington DC1,282 contributions
    Wasn't sure how this one would go since we had our two and four year olds in tow, but it was worth it. I did the ladder with my two year old in backpack carrier so I can tell you it's do-able. I saw several other parents with young kids doing the same thing. My four year old did the ladder herself with some guidance. We had a good cloudy day for it, but there is no cover so if it's hot and sunny be prepared. Really a nice view and snack spot at the end.

    I had a hard time making up my mind if we'd do the ladder before we saw it in real life. it is actually kind of curved and starts off really easy and is more vertical towards the top, but the hard part is really only 10-15 ft, not the whole thing.
    Written 8 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Ksmith727
    Liberty135 contributions
    Super visitor center! Great information in a nicely presented way. My favorite part was the room where three paleontologists were working on cleaning fossils. They were behind plexiglass, but were able to answer questions. So fascinating!
    Written 10 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    We love to watch prairie dogs. We first encountered them in Custer State Park, early in the morning when they were very active. They were not quite so active during our hot, mid-day visit to Roberts Prairie Dog Town, but they were no less entertaining. I love when they reach up and jump while chirping! The town is located on a large, open grassland, and there were bison grazing in the distances. It was very scenic. I highly recommend a stop.
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    Big Badlands Overlook was our first stop after entering the park from the northeast. What an awesome introduction to the Badlands! There is a parking lot, and a boardwalk trail leading out onto a peninsular ridge. The views in all directions are spectacular! The layers in the vast array of rock formations is so beautiful. I highly recommend a stop at this overlook.
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • janvancouver_BC
    Vancouver, Canada125 contributions
    One of our favorite overlooks. We parked the car and did a short walk on either side of the highway. The mounds are beautiful. There are red as well as yellow. We did this stop in late afternoon so the mounts were highlighted by the lower sun. Gorgeous.
    Written 18 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    This is the highest overlook on the Badlands Loop Road, and it offers some of the most panoramic views. It was also our last overlook, driving east to west, so we just savored the scenery. There are a couple vantage points if you walk down from the parking area--be sure to check them out. I highly recommend a stop here.
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • sanju_222323
    New Jersey13,296 contributions
    If you want to get up close with the amazing rock formations of the Badlands without a full-on hike, this is a great option. The Door Trail is 0.75 miles long (round-trip), flat, and great for almost all ability levels.

    The trail starts off as a boardwalk (100 meters of the hike is on a boardwalk). Once off the boardwalk, you will hike 800 meters into the Badlands, on rough, uneven terrain. The national park service lists this part of the trail as strenuous but I think most people will find it to be easy but fun. Kids will love this short, fun hike.

    Tip: The Notch Trail, Door Trail, and Window Trail all start from the same parking lot.
    Written 21 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • JM Cirlin
    Overland Park, Ks261 contributions
    Didn't expect this trail to be so scenic. I think it was my favorite trail in the park. It resembled a very steep mountain goat trail, but it's pretty short. Turn around at the mushroom rock formations at the top of the pass. Bring trekking poles for the hike down.
    Written 26 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Tricia B
    Wisconsin351 contributions
    We hiked Medicine Root/Castle Trail starting off on the north side of the trail first where we saw some coyotes and deer. We were glad we started off with the Medicine Root part of the loop because it was less interesting than the last half of the trail that looped around to Castle Trail. It was definitely worth the little side trip to Saddle Pass; the views were stunning. However, don't expect to be alone because many people hike up the steep trail to Saddle Pass from farther down the road. The loop we took did not have a strenuous incline. It was a pretty easy 4.3 mile hike but bring plenty of water because it gets hit with very little shade. To get to the trailhead parking, we turned on Old Northeast Road.
    Written 6 August 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    This is a 1/4 mile boardwalk loop trail that has several interprative signs with fossil replicas. We happened to arrive with the full sun, and the terrain was almost blinding. I recommend a visit to this trail.
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • FDinger
    Florida1,207 contributions
    We drove the gravel Sage Creek Rim Road east to west from the Badlands Loop Road. It offers beautiful views of the prairie grasslands to the north and the steep drop of the Badlands Wall to the valley to the south. We saw pronghorn antelope, bison, and of course prairie dogs at Roberts Prairie Dog Town. I highly recommend a visit to this part of Badlands National Park.
    Written 24 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Kevin O
    10 contributions
    This was an amazing adventure to the end of the Sheep Mountain Table Road. My Jeep Wrangler had no problems with the terrain and we never used the 4x4, it just needed high clearance. This trip was far more scenic and enjoyable than the paved over crowded roads in the North Unit. It was the best day of a trip over a week long exploring the area. Take a lunch and chairs and set at the end of the road for a couple of hours and listen to the wind.
    Written 31 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Leza H
    London, UK644 contributions
    Couldn’t take enough photos but they’ll never do it justice. Some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever looked out over.
    Written 19 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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