Saddle Pass Trail, Saddle Pass Trailhead, Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Saddle Pass Trail - 0.7 miles
Saddle Pass Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||0.7 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,437' - 2,653'|
|Elevation Change:||+216' net elevation gain|
Saddle Pass Trail - 0.7 Miles Round-Trip
The Saddle Pass Trail is one of the Badlands' shorter but more difficult maintained trails in terms of terrain and elevation gain.
The rock formation up which you'll climb is strikingly colorful with red, pink and deep purple striations. Despite its benign appearance, the rugged trail follows a steep, unevenly eroded gully that can be especially hazardous during or after rainstorms.
Once over the pass, the trail spills into a scenic bluff atop the Badland Wall, just steps away from the Castle Trail and Medicine Root Trail junctions. This attractive area provides terrific 360-degree views, including a good illustration of the distinct Upper and Lower Plains.
For those with extra time, it's worth turning left (west) on the Castle Trail for a short distance, as travel is easy and the scenery is simply outstanding..
- Early settlers used the Saddle Pass route through the formidable Badland Wall as a primary north-south passage point for reaching the nearby town of Interior.
- As with all vertical badland formations, the terrain is inherently unstable and caution is a must, especially on the descent. This trail should not be attempted during or after a rainstorm.
There is no fishing available on the Saddle Pass Trail.
Directions to Trailhead
The Saddle Pass Trailhead is located approximately 2 miles West of the Ben Reifel Vistor Center on Highway 240 (Badlands Loop Road).
Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel Road
P.O. Box 6
Interior, SD 57750