National Parks/Monuments

Door Trail in Badlands National Park

The Door Trail explores this terrain in the Badlands.

The Door Trail in the Badlands was a really fun hike for the boys. One of the reasons that they liked it is that it is not a well-defined trail. It wanders among rugged rock formations across the dusty terrain. The number one rule of hiking is to stay on the trail, because stepping on native plants kills them, which causes erosion because their roots no longer hold the soil in place. But in the Badlands, there are no plants and rocks are eroded steadily at the rate of an inch a year. So the boys jumped from rock to rock and had a great time.

We had a lot of fun exploring near the Door Trail.

The other thing the boys liked was following a series of twelve yellow poles that generally show the direction of the trail. These poles are numbered, and our 5 year-old would run to a pole and search for the next one. He had a lot of fun finding the best route to the next pole.

Follow these yellow poles to the end of the trail.

The Door Trail runs .9 miles according to park literature, but we clocked it at closer to three-quarters of a mile. The first portion is on a boardwalk that is very easy and wheel friendly. There is a great spot at the end of the boardwalk to overlook the Badlands rock formations with benches. After that, it is rough and rocky but perfectly flat. This is a great trail for any age kids, and we saw a lot of folks hiking The Door Trail. At the end, there is a nice overlook with a bit of a drop, so be a bit careful there. Also, make sure to take water, hats, and prepare with sunscreen as there is no shade in the Badlands!

The trail starts on this boardwalk from the parking lot.

Soon you will see the Door to a section of Badlands National Park.

You come to the end of the boardwalk and there is a great overlook with benches.

The trail continues down these stairs and out into the rock formations.

Our boys played a little hide-n-seek as we hiked this trail.

Soon you will come to this sign.

The trail ends at this overlook, but be careful. There is a steep drop off behind those rocks.

This trail is located just inside the northeast entrance and pairs very well with The Window Trail. It shares a parking lot with The Window and The Notch Trails. This was our favorite hike in Badlands National Park.

We had a lot of fun on the Door Trail in Badlands National Park.

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