Badlands National Park: Castle-Medicine Root Loop

Watch thriving bison herds while surveying million-year-old glacial architecture on this 4.2-mile lasso loop through the largest untouched mixed-grass prairie in North America.
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Watch thriving bison herds while surveying million-year-old glacial architecture on this 4.2-mile lasso loop through the largest untouched mixed-grass prairie in North America.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.3

Waypoints

BDL001

Location: 43.7581291, -101.9745026

From Saddle Pass trailhead, begin hiking NE

BDL002

Location: 43.7599869, -101.9733734

Catch your breath at small vista as trail steeply ascends

BDL003

Location: 43.7611389, -101.972702

Top of Badlands Wall, once used by Native Americans as a lookout to scan the area for enemies and herds

BDL005

Location: 43.7632332, -101.9703522

Lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of a black-footed ferret, N. America?s most endangered land mammal

BDL006

Location: 43.7624168, -101.9672775

Following trail E, take in the unique landscape of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires

BDL007

Location: 43.7629585, -101.9637985

Unique "shark fin" formation @ wide spot in trail; nice spot for panoramic photos of plateau

BDL008

Location: 43.7658997, -101.9451981

Turn L onto Medicine Root Trail

BDL009

Location: 43.7718582, -101.9601974

Keep binocs handy to scout for bison, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn on the buttes to the S

BDL004

Location: 43.7618523, -101.9726944

Turn R @ 4-way with Medicine Root Trail

BDL010

Location: 43.7682915, -101.9656601

Trail meets up with dry riverbed to R, hot spot for Oligocene fossils and Oglala Sioux arrowheads. Follow trail back S to top of Badlands Wall; descend Saddle Pass to parking lot