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Notch Trail

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Notch Trail will take you up a Badlands canyon to an overlook with incredible views over the Great Plains. The round trip is a 1.33-mile hike with 125 feet of elevation gain. This hike does not have a boardwalk to follow, just a dirt trail and a steep wooden ladder. Notch Trail also traces a cliff's edge so it's not a good option for hikers who fear heights. For those interested in a bit of adventure this hike has a lot to offer. Begin the trek at the south end of the shared trailhead for Door Trail, Window Trail, and Notch Trail. The dirt path heads southward into a canyon of eroded sediment. 1/3 of a mile from the start, the canyon walls narrow, running toward a dried waterfall. You'll see a wooden ladder bolted to the right side of the canyon. Climb up the 50+ rungs to the top of a ledge that lines the canyon. When your feet are back on solid ground, turn left and skirt a cliff to return to the canyon floor above the dry falls. The trail is easy to follow with posts and reflective markers to keep you on course. Come to a split in the ravine and stay to the right, observing the trail markers. The hike suddenly ends at a cliff, dropping steeply into the Badlands to the south. The overlook has sweeping views of this unique landscape as well as miles of prairie grass. To get to the trailhead, take Badlands Loop Road (Route 240) two miles east of the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to a large turnout on the east side of the road for Door, Window, and Notch Trails. Notch Trail begins from the south end of the lot.