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The Notch Trail

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The Notch Trail, at a distance of 1.5 miles roundtrip, has adventure, great scenery, and excellent hiking, all amid the colorful desert of the Badlands.

At once beautiful and stark, the Badlands is an intriguing place to venture out on a trail, and The Notch Trail offers a great introduction to some of the unique desert formations in this amazing National Park.

One such formation is the Badlands Wall, a huge natural barrier ridging the landscape, sculptured into fantastic pinnacles and twisting gullies by the forces of water.

The trail begins by meandering through a canyon, and then climbs up to a shelf via a steep ladder. From the top of the ladder, you continue hiking along a ledge to the formation known as “The Notch”—a break in The Wall, where you can gaze out over prairie and badlands, the White River, and the Pine Ridge Reservation on the plain below.

In our opinion, the coolest part of the hike is the ladder climb — if you have a fear of heights, the ladder might prove to be a small obstacle, but most people can manage to get to the top with little effort.

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