Bigfoot Pass Trail, Badlands National Forest

Nestled in the rugged terrain of Badlands National Forest, the Bigfoot Pass Trail offers hikers a challenging and rewarding adventure through some of the most stunning landscapes in the region. This 7.5-mile trail takes you through a variety of terrain, from steep inclines to rocky outcroppings, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding badlands. Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for a new challenge or a nature lover seeking a unique way to explore the beauty of South Dakota, the Bigfoot Pass Trail is a must-see destination.

Trail Highlights

Some of the the highlights of this trail are:

  • Offers stunning views of the Badlands landscape, including unique rock formations and colorful layers of sedimentary rock
  • Provides opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife, such as bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and coyotes
  • Features a diverse range of plant life, including cacti, wildflowers, and grasses
  • Offers a challenging hike with steep inclines and rocky terrain, making it a great option for experienced hikers
  • Provides access to remote areas of the park, allowing visitors to experience the wilderness and solitude of the Badlands
  • Offers a chance to see the effects of erosion and other geological processes on the landscape
  • Provides opportunities for birdwatching, with species such as golden eagles, prairie falcons, and horned larks commonly seen in the area
  • Offers a unique perspective on the history of the area, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years visible along the trail.

Total distance: 7.6-mile (11 km) round trip hike.

Elevation gain: 

Difficulty: 3/5

Child friendly?

It depends on the age and hiking experience of the children. The Bigfoot Pass Trail is a moderate to strenuous hike that is 6.4 miles round trip and includes steep inclines and declines. It may be too challenging for young children or those who are not used to hiking. It is important to assess the abilities of the children and make sure they are prepared with proper gear and hydration before attempting this trail.

Local Campgrounds

Camping is a great option as a base camp for the Bigfoot Pass Trail in the Badlands National Park. The trail is a challenging 10-mile hike that takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the park. Camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the park and gives you the flexibility to start your hike early in the morning. The best time to visit the Badlands National Park is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, be prepared for sudden changes in weather as the park is known for its unpredictable weather patterns.

There are no campgrounds located directly on the Bigfoot Pass Trail in Badlands National Park. However, there are several campgrounds located within the park that offer easy access to the trail. The Cedar Pass Campground is the closest option, located just a few miles from the trailhead. Other nearby campgrounds include the Sage Creek Campground and the Badlands Interior Campground. All of these campgrounds offer a range of amenities, including restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits. It is recommended to make reservations in advance, as these campgrounds can fill up quickly during peak season.

Other Activities

In addition to hiking, there are many other ways to discover this beautiful wildness. If you are planning a trip to Bigfoot Pass Trail, be sure to consider some of the following:

  • Hiking on various trails, including the Castle Trail and the Notch Trail
  • Camping in designated campgrounds or backcountry camping with a permit
  • Wildlife viewing, including bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and coyotes
  • Scenic drives along the Badlands Loop Road or Sage Creek Rim Road
  • Stargazing in the park’s designated dark sky area
  • Ranger-led programs and guided hikes
  • Horseback riding on designated trails
  • Birdwatching, with over 200 species of birds found in the park
  • Photography opportunities of the unique rock formations and landscapes
  • Rock climbing and bouldering in designated areas with a permit.

Bigfoot Pass Trail FAQs

Are dogs allowed? Yes, dogs must be kept on a leash on the Bigfoot Pass Trail in the Badlands National Park.

Is the trail well signed? As an AI language model, I do not have personal experience or knowledge of the current conditions of the Badlands National Park. However, according to the official website of the National Park Service, the trails in the Badlands National Park are generally well-signed and marked. Visitors are advised to obtain a map and follow the trail markers to ensure they stay on the designated trails. It is always recommended to exercise caution and be prepared for changing weather conditions and potential hazards., is a site dedicated to all nature enthusiasts out there! We believe that spending time outdoors is not just a hobby but a lifestyle. Discover new places, and learn new skills.


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