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Red Beds Trail

Intermediate
 4.7 (20)

A trail through beautiful ecosystems that offers far more than just views of Devils Tower.


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Map Key

2.9

Miles

4.7

KM

89%

Runnable

4,298' 1,310 m

High

3,902' 1,189 m

Low

472' 144 m

Up

457' 139 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

Similar to the Joyner Ridge Trail, this loop mostly descends as you leave the trailhead to a low point somewhere near the half-way point. Given that this is a loop trail, you can choose to run it in either direction, but it's mapped here in the counterclockwise direction. The trailhead is located at the visitor center parking lot and is shared with the Tower Trail.

As you leave the trailhead, you'll wander through thinning ponderosa pine forest with views of the tower to your left. The trail passes through an open area and begins to contour the hillside around to the east. At this point, views to the south of the Black Hills, the Belle Fourche River and its associated floodplain are marvelous. The trail now begins a continuous descent of the south-facing aspect through meadows and occasional stands of ponderosa.

At about the 0.75 mile mark, you'll come to a junction with South Side Trail. This trail descends the hillside very steeply and leads to the Belle Fourche Campground. Continuing past this junction, you'll soon come to another intersection, this time with Valley View Trail. The Valley View Trail descends to the river a little more gradually before also leading to the campground. After passing this junction, it's pretty much all uphill back to the trailhead.

Continuing along the trail, you'll soon come to some beautiful red badlands. This geologic formation is a marvel in and of itself and is this trail's namesake. Geo-curious visitors may find this area as intriguing as the tower itself. Once you've had a chance to take in the sights here, continue past a junction with the Joyner Ridge - Red Beds Connector at mile 1.6 and begin the steep ascent back into the forest. You'll have good views of the tower as you ascend until you enter the denser forest.

Once in the forest, keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife - this is one of the best places in the park to encounter some of the park's original inhabitants. The final three-quarters of a mile of the trail meander and undulate through dense forest all the way back to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers abound in the meadows during the spring. Mammal species that you're likely to encounter along this trail include white tail deer, cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, and porcupines. As always, be alert as rattlesnakes are native to this ecosystem.

Contacts

Shared By:

Michael Blake 22

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 20 votes

#173

Overall
  4.7 from 20 votes
5 Star
75%
4 Star
20%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#9

in Wyoming

#173

Overall
55 Views Last Month
1,723 Since Feb 1, 2016
Intermediate

0%
6%
94%
0%
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0%

Photos

Prayer flags tied to the trees
Nov 15, 2017 near Sundance, WY
Devil's Tower from the beginning of the loop trail that goes all the way around the tower.
Dec 19, 2015 near Sundance, WY
A red shale area of the Red Beds Trail.
Apr 28, 2017 near Sundance, WY
A view of Devils Tower, April 4, 2017.
Apr 28, 2017 near Sundance, WY
Devils Tower
Mar 6, 2018 near Sundance, WY
Devils Tower Monument in background.
Sep 6, 2019 near Sundance, WY

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Check-Ins

Jun 7, 2019
Bob Booth
fantastic trail.
May 14, 2019
Riley Aschenbrenner
Sep 27, 2018
Adrianna Carey
Apr 21, 2017
Ryan Dosch
Ran both Red Beds and Tower trails. Awesome! Note: Park entry fee is $15, but well worth it! 4.2mi — 0h 52m