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

Door Trail - 0.3 miles

Notch Trail - Window Trail - Door Trail Parking Area

View from the Door Trail boardwalk

View from the Door Trail boardwalk

Round-Trip Length: 0.3 miles (optional cross-country route adds an additional 0.4 to roundtrip distance)
Start-End Elevation: 2,667' - 2,667'
Elevation Change: No Elevation Change
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Door Trail - 0.3 Miles Round-Trip

The Door Trail boardwalk leads into the heart of the Badland Wall. At its terminus is an interpretive sign discussing the Wall's geologic significance, formation and erosive forces acting upon it. Views from the Door Trail are simply outstanding, and best lit in the afternoon.

For those with the time and inclination, a spur from the boardwalk leads out onto a vast stretch of rolling mud hills. Yellow signposts mark a short cross-country route through the spectacular vicinity.

Despite being surrounded by formidable terrain, this informal but marked route is easily traversed and family friendly.

For those who haven't the time or ability to explore the park's longer trails, this brief excursion is highly recommended. Visitors will enjoy getting off trail and experiencing first hand the Badlands' unique terrain and geologic composition.

Stretching for nearly 60 miles west to east, The Badland Wall we see today was carved over the past 500,000 years by three river systems and millennia of rain, wind and exposure.

Predating and setting the stage for such a rapid occurrence, The White River eroded a scarp - a long steep slope or cliff at the edge of a plateau or ridge - in the lower plains south of the Park.

Subsequent storms over the next 5 million years eroded away at this 'Wall-in-the-making', causing its crest to recede northward away from the river and toward the upper plains. Erosion of the Badland Wall (and other Park formations) occurs at a rate of almost one inch per year, extraordinarily fast in geologic terms.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

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

Worth Noting

  • The yellow signposts are not very tall and can be difficult to spot from a distance. It is easy to wander off course in this landscape. Be cognizant of your location at all times, and never let children out of sight.

  • Avoid the cross-country route in darkness, as it can be very easy to lose your bearings.

Directions to Trailhead

The Door 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 Door Trailhead is located at the North end of the Parking Area.

Contact Information

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

Park Headquarters

By Fax

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Dogs are not allowed on any of the trails within the park."
Kate  -  Badlands National Park  -  Date Posted: July 27, 2013


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