Notch Trail, Notch Trail - Window Trail - Door Trail Parking Area, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Notch Trail - 1.3 miles

Notch Trail - Window Trail - Door Trail Parking Area

View from the Notch Trail's overlook

View from the Notch Trail's overlook

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Round-Trip Length: 1.3 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,665' - 2,785' (2,785' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +120' net elevation gain (+190' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Notch Trail - 1.3 Miles Round-Trip

The Notch Trail leads to a small opening atop the Badland Wall, yielding sensational views of its southern fringe and the distant lower prairie.

The trail begins with a mild climb up uneven, intricately carved terrain. Light colored formations are particularly well illuminated in the early morning and late afternoon. After .3 miles the trail comes to a wood step-wire ladder. While easy to climb, too many people on it at once can make the short ascent unnecessarily imbalanced. Hiking companions should space out a bit for safety.

Once atop the ladder, the trail hugs a steep wall above a shallow canyon. Exercise caution over a few rugged and potentially unstable sections, especially when wet. The trail reaches two metal posts typical of Badland hiking trails after .6 miles. No direction is given, but bear right for the final few steps to the intended overlook area.

Views to the east, west and south are outstanding, but tread lightly and carefully when positioning for the best vantage, as there is a steep drop just below you and the ground on which you stand is inherently unstable. On the return, at the two metal signposts, curious hikers can bear right up an unmarked but scenic slot to a similar viewpoint.

This more isolated overlook is easily reached and a nice (albeit not too distant) reprieve from crowds at the Notch Trail's popular overlook.

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Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

View Interactive Google Map

  • N43 45.658 W101 55.650 — 0.0 Miles: Notch Trailhead Area

Worth Noting

  • Exercise caution when the trail is wet. Consider other trails until conditions improve.

Directions to Trailhead

The Notch Trail parking area is located approximately 2 miles northeast of the Ben Reifel Visitor Center on Highway 240. Parking spaces are abundant but can fill up quickly during peak times.


The Notch Trailhead is located on the South end of the Parking Area.

Contact Information

Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel Road
P.O. Box 6
Interior, SD 57750

Park Headquarters
605.433.5361

By Fax
605.433.5404

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



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