Wednesday, June 21, 2017

badlands: notch trail

We arrived at the Badlands on a Thursday evening.  We set up camp at the Sage Creek camping area.  And we had one trail my whole family wanted to hike.  The Notch Trail.
You have probably viewed pictures of the Notch Trail and not realized what it was.
It has the steep log ladder you climb during a portion of  the trail to get up to the dramatic views and the plateau.
We took this from the parking lot.  Perfect timing.

 The Notch Trail head is at the South end of the parking lot of the Door and Window trails.  The total trail length is 1.5 miles long.  
 You get amazing views as you meander through the canyon.Be cautious of your steps.  You don't want to fall, trip or step on something that would not have a pleasant ending.

 I couldn't handle all these amazing views.  I wanted to cry at the beauty of the entire Badlands, but with the sun setting, it was impossible not to have some sort of feels.

 There are a lot of steep areas and drop offs.  If you are afraid of heights and/or falling, this is not the trail for you.

 The hike is moderate to difficult depending on your hiking level and fitness level and there is always something to look at.

 The canyon walls start to narrow about a third of the way into the hike.  
 If you think you are off course, look for the reflective markers.  They will steer you on the correct path.
 The wooden ladder is bolted to the hillside.  I took the ladder up as well as my daughter.  The boys took a different route.  There are more than 50 rungs and it gets steeper as you go up. We started out walking and ended up having to use both hands and feet to traverse to the top. 
 But it is completely worth it.
 See, it's steeper than the original picture looks.  I can't believe I went up and down this thing.
 The trail does come to an abrupt end as you go along the side of the canyon.  It's worth it though.  Just don't be skiddish.  
 Advice for hiking this trail:
1. Don't go alone.
2. Follow the markers or look for them if you feel lost.  There is no board walk to guide the way.
3. Explore
4. Have fun.  It's okay to do that.
5. If you are afraid of heights, stop at the ladder, even though that is one of the best parts.
6. Bring a camera, but don't be so engrossed it in that you don't experience the beauty outside the pictures.
7.  Sunset time is quite amazing in late May.

 I cannot wait to go back to the Badlands.  I want to hike more trails and explore the terrain even more.
What is your favorite hike at the Badlands?


  1. Cool! We drove past the Badlands on a road trip several years ago, and the landscape was so unique, but we didn't stop. Thanks for all the pics, it looks amazing. That view from the top of the ladder - eek!

    1. It is terrifying. I climbed up it doing my best not to fall or hurt myself and didn't even pay attention to how far up we actually went. I looked down and my first thought was that I would be stuck up there forever. :)

  2. Wow! This place is now on my list of places to visit. So cool!