A short, yet rewarding hike through juniper forests with a commanding view from its highest point.


0 - 1









FATMAP difficulty grade



Of all the hikes in Badlands National Park, Cliff Shelf Nature Trail offers some of the best views for your efforts.

Just a half-mile in length, "most hikers will fly through this short hike with soaring views," according to [hikespeak.com](https://www.hikespeak.com/trails/cliff-shelf-nature-trail-badlands/). A "lollipop" loop, the start of the loop is flat, easy, and even wheelchair friendly.

The loop is more challenging, but still an *easy* hike by most standards.

"The route to the left is gradual, sipping through a forest of juniper past an often-dry pond.

The route to the right mountains a string of stairs, taking a more direct route to the viewing platform," continues [hikespeak.com](https://www.hikespeak.com/trails/cliff-shelf-nature-trail-badlands/).

From the viewing platform, if you look up, you'll be looking at the end of the [Notch Trail(https://fatmap.com/routeid/1740511/Notch_Trail), another excellent hike with spectacular views of the Badlands. Cliff Shelf Nature Trail begins on Badlands Loop Road and has ample parking for a couple dozen cars.

If you're driving a larger RV, bus, or trailer however, consider another hike such as the [Door Trail](https://fatmap.com/routeid/1740527/Door_Trail/) or [Notch Trail](https://fatmap.com/routeid/1740511/Notch_Trail) instead.

Should you need water or a restroom, the Ben Riefel Visitor Center is just a few minutes west on the main road through the park.