Badlands: Medicine Root/Castle/Saddle Pass Loop
ElevationAscent: 189' 58 m
Descent: -189' -58 m
High: 2,648' 807 m
Low: 2,588' 789 m
GradeAvg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)
“A scenic loop to see magnificent badlands formations, prairie and huge vistas.”— ktboundary Thompson
Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Need to Know
The Medicine Root Trail is a generally rolling trail connects with the Castle Trail near the Old Northeast Road and again at the intersection of the Castle and Saddle Pass Trail. Trail users are provided the opportunity to explore the mixed grass prairie while enjoying views of the Badlands in the distance. Watch for cactus and rattlesnakes. Continue on into the prairie and possible sightings of bison. This trail also turns to the south and passes along beds of rocks that were deposited by glacial stream.
A junction of the Medicine Root, Castle and Saddle Pass is encountered where you continue straight south on the Saddle Pass trail to the edge Badlands Wall and to an expansive view over the White River Valley. The park ground is visible from the overlook.
Loop backwards on the Saddle Pass Trail and turn right (east) down the Castle Trail. This portion of the trail has great views of close up badlands formations with draw and steep ravines. Parts of this section are difficult to follow as the trail disappears in the hard badlands dirt, so make sure to take the time to look ahead to find the right path through. Also, this section is rocky and uneven. The trail eventually head back to the Door and Window parking area backtracking on the initial section of the Castle Trail.
Flora & Fauna
History & Background
Land Manager: NPS - Badlands National Park