The longest maintained trail within Badlands, perfect for a shuttle, loop, or out-and-back.

Statistics

2 - 3

hrs

47

m

41

m

0

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

The Castle Trail is the showpiece hiking trail within Badlands.

It's the longest maintained trail and makes for an excellent shuttle or loop when paired with the Medicine Root Trail.

Along the way you'll pass through vast open prairies, mud hills, and "through intricately carved buttes, sod tables, washes and gullies with useful perspective on the powerful erosive forces that shape the Badlands." [Source](http://www.protrails.com/trail/182/badlands-national-park-castle-trail#:~:text=The%20Castle%20Trail%20is%20the,fins%20interspersed%20with%20open%20prairie.&text=The%20trail%20crosses%20open%20prairie,gullies%20carved%20into%20badland%20formations%20(.) There are both eastern and western trailheads for the Castle Trail.

Both are quite size-able with room for larger trailers or RV's, and are located along the main roadway through the park.

As a result, a point-to-point shuttle is an excellent option.

The trail also crosses another roadway near the eastern trailhead should you want a destination for a shorter out-and-back.

A popular option is to link the Castle Trail and Medicine Root Trail on [this loop](https://fatmap.com/routeid/1740584), which is an excellent option from the eastern trailhead.

Medicine Root Trail is slightly less scenic than the formations you'll find on the Castle Trail, but "you may enjoy the variation, perspective and open space," [according to this source](http://www.protrails.com/trail/182/badlands-national-park-castle-trail).

Worth noting, the entire trail is exposed, with very few options for shade or shelter.

Be extremely mindful of the weather forecast and be sure to pack plenty of water for the trip.

Long sleeves and/or sunblock are also highly recommended. Should you have the time, consider stopping by the [Fossil Exhibit Trail](https://fatmap.com/routeid/1740594/fossil-exhibit-trail) to view some of the many fossils that have been found over the years.