Last year you may recall a post called Back To The Badlands when, in fact, it was my first time there. Well, buckle up or get ready or something because I actually went back to the Badlands. Twice. I bet you’re already impressed and you haven’t even read about it yet.
Well, on my way to Wisconsin then back to Utah, it was practically on the way and much more exciting than driving through Nebraska. Sorry, Nebraska. So it was a no-brainer. We went to the Badlands both times.
This time it was time to actually do a hike there. It was early evening and we were trying to make it to the visitors center before 5. It was approximately 5:02 when we got there, so we turned around and went back to do the Saddle hike. It meets up with the Castle Trail and a couple others. The whole Saddle loop is somewhere between two and four miles.
We set off knowing we wouldn’t do the whole trail as it was long and we had to keep driving, but we wanted to be out and about for a bit. I can’t speak for the whole trail, but good lord is it difficult to climb up the initial part in the actual Badland formations. I mean, I’m not in the best shape after this winter, but I thought my lungs were going to burn right up into ashes. SPOILER ALERT: they didn’t (Thankfully!)
Once at the top, you have awesome views over the Badlands below you and the open plains behind you. You come out on top of a plateau sort of thing instead of on a formation. I don’t know why, but that seemed to surprise me. We wandered around there for a bit, went and overlooked from a different spot, then went back down the way we came.
The way down was much easier, but be careful because the dirt slides a little in some areas. So, overall, this was an awesome short hike and a good break from sitting in the car for hours on end. It was tough going up, but totally worth it. There are other hikes that aren’t as strenuous going up, so that might be a better option for families and anyone looking for a nice stroll versus a climb. I still loved it though.
Tips for visiting the Badlands:
- Get the America The Beautiful pass if you plan on going to more than probably three parks. It’s $80 and is 1000% worth it.
- It gets pretty hot, so bring water.
- It’s not usually busy there, at least in April, which is an awesome time to visit and has great weather.
Have you been to the Badlands? Did you do any hikes? Which ones? What did you like (or not like) about it?