Notch Trail, Badlands National Park

Wall, SD
Length: 1.50 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

The Notch Trail leads to a notch in the rock wall for a view across the White River Valley. This one is moderate and includes climbing up a steep wooden ladder; however, you can make the base of the ladder your turnaround point for an easy and still worthwhile hike. The first section of this trail follows a creek bed that has water in the rainy season, making a small oasis with the most plant life of the three trails. At the base of the ladder is an open area with some great large rocks for toddlers to climb on. “Our almost-2-year-old walked all of it; however, we did not continue beyond the base of the ladder on the Notch Trail. I would carry if you choose to continue to the end of the trail,” says Jennifer Bradwin. 

This spot is a perfect turnaround point for those afraid of heights like me or if you fear a meltdown coming. If you continue up and beyond the ladder, you are rewarded with views out over the White River Valley from a notch in the rock wall. Getting to the notch involves hiking along a ledge and does have drop-offs. If you continue up this way, it is probably a good idea to put the kiddo up in a carrier. Hiking all the way to the notch is 1.5 miles round trip; to the base of the ladder, it is just shy of 1 mile round trip. 

There is ample opportunity to see wildlife throughout the park. Hike it Baby ambassadors reported seeing bighorn sheep, bison, pronghorns, rabbits, birds, and of course lots of prairie dogs, like most of South Dakota and Wyoming. Signs warn of rattlesnakes, but people rarely encounter them here. 

Share This Trail

Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Junior Ranger Program, and Viewpoint

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.


Trail Map

Getting There

Badlands National Park is located 75 miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota. Physical Addresses for GPS* Park Headquarters: 25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750. Northeast Entrance (I-90, Exit 131): 21020 SD Hwy 240, Interior, SD 57750. Pinnacles Entrance (I-90, Exit 110): 24240 Hwy 240, Wall, SD 57790. Interior Entrance: 20640 SD Hwy 377, Interior, SD 57750.