Saddle Pass Trail, Saddle Pass Trailhead, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Saddle Pass Trail - 0.7 miles

Saddle Pass Trailhead

The colorful Saddle Pass Trail

The colorful Saddle Pass Trail

Round-Trip Length: 0.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,437' - 2,653'
Elevation Change: +216' net elevation gain
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Saddle Pass Trail - 0.7 Miles Round-Trip

The Saddle Pass Trail is one of the Badlands' shorter but more difficult maintained trails in terms of terrain and elevation gain.

The rock formation up which you'll climb is strikingly colorful with red, pink and deep purple striations. Despite its benign appearance, the rugged trail follows a steep, unevenly eroded gully that can be especially hazardous during or after rainstorms.

Once over the pass, the trail spills into a scenic bluff atop the Badland Wall, just steps away from the Castle Trail and Medicine Root Trail junctions. This attractive area provides terrific 360-degree views, including a good illustration of the distinct Upper and Lower Plains.

For those with extra time, it's worth turning left (west) on the Castle Trail for a short distance, as travel is easy and the scenery is simply outstanding..

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Worth Noting

  • Early settlers used the Saddle Pass route through the formidable Badland Wall as a primary north-south passage point for reaching the nearby town of Interior.

  • As with all vertical badland formations, the terrain is inherently unstable and caution is a must, especially on the descent. This trail should not be attempted during or after a rainstorm.


Fishing Information

There is no fishing available on the Saddle Pass Trail.

Directions to Trailhead

The Saddle Pass Trailhead is located approximately 2 miles West of the Ben Reifel Vistor Center on Highway 240 (Badlands Loop Road).

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.


"Could not figure this trail out. Not well marked towards the top. Had to turn around. "
Anna  -  Omaha  -  Date Posted: May 3, 2015


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