Medicine Root Loop Trail, Badlands National Park

The Medicine Root Loop Trail offers hikers a unique opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of the South Dakota Badlands. This 4.3-mile loop trail winds through a diverse landscape of towering rock formations, sweeping grasslands, and lush valleys, providing stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice adventurer, the Medicine Root Loop Trail is a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the natural wonders of the Badlands.

Trail Highlights

Some of the the highlights of this trail are:

  • Offers stunning views of the Badlands formations and surrounding prairie landscape
  • Passes through a variety of ecosystems, including grasslands, canyons, and rocky outcroppings
  • Provides opportunities to see a diverse range of wildlife, such as bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and coyotes
  • Features unique geological formations, including layered rock formations and colorful mineral deposits
  • Offers a chance to see rare and endangered plant species, such as the western silvery aster and the prairie smoke flower
  • Provides access to historic sites, such as the Medicine Root Ranch and the Badlands Wilderness Area
  • Offers a moderate hiking challenge, with some steep inclines and rocky terrain
  • Provides opportunities for birdwatching, with sightings of raptors, songbirds, and waterfowl
  • Offers a peaceful and secluded hiking experience, with fewer crowds than some of the more popular trails in the park.

Total distance: 4.1 miles (6.6 km)

Elevation gain: 34 m

Difficulty: 3/5

Child friendly?

The Medicine Root Loop Trail in Badlands National Park is suitable for children, but parents should be aware that it is a moderate hike with some steep inclines and rocky terrain. Children should be supervised and wear appropriate footwear.

Local Campgrounds

There are several great campground options in the Medicine Root Loop Trail area of Badlands National Park. Some of the top choices include:

1. Cedar Pass Campground: This is the only campground located within the park and offers stunning views of the Badlands. It has 96 sites, including both tent and RV sites, and is open year-round.

2. Sage Creek Campground: This is a primitive campground located in the northwest corner of the park. It has 22 sites and is free to use on a first-come, first-served basis.

3. Badlands Interior Campground: This is a private campground located just outside the park’s entrance. It has tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and other amenities.

4. KOA Badlands/White River: This is another private campground located just outside the park’s entrance. It has tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and other amenities.

No matter which campground you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the Badlands and all the outdoor activities the area has to offer.

Other Activities

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

  • Fossil Exhibit Trail
  • Cliff Shelf Nature Trail
  • Roberts Prairie Dog Town
  • Badlands Loop Road scenic drive
  • Wildlife viewing (bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, coyotes, etc.)
  • Stargazing
  • Camping
  • Horseback riding
  • Ranger-led programs and hikes
  • Photography opportunities

Medicine Root Loop Trail FAQs

Are dogs allowed? Yes, dogs must be kept on a leash on the Medicine Root Loop Trail in the Badlands National Park.

Is the trail well signed? It is unclear whether the Medicine Root Loop Trail in the Badlands National Park is well signed., 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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