Weekend came around once again and it was time for a new adventure. In all the years we lived in South Dakota we have never explored the Badlands…and with a perfect 65 degrees afternoon in front of us, now it is time!
Being familiar with the layout of the Badlands National Park loop we decided to start our Badlands hiking experience at Notch Trail. Notch is a 1.5 mile round trip hike that is moderate in difficulty. The trail was to lead us through a canyon, up a log ladder to a ledge and up to “the Notch” for an expansive view of the White River Valley. If you have a fear of heights…you might want to stay away from the edge. That aside, the view is breathtaking!
Our 3 and 7 year old traversed the terrain with little difficulty. I initially had mild concern how our youngest would do, but those little legs couldn’t be stopped. The log ladder was a little slow going when you are assisting 2 children and lugging around photo gear. After the climb we found ourselves stopping to take in the views of the walls around us, as they changed shape with the light. The beautiful wall colors glowed in contrast with the perfect blue sky.
All this provided the perfect opportunity to teach our children about different plants and animals. We steered them away from the beautiful cactus, and showed them the mud dwellings of flying insects….watched numerous birds circle and soar overhead, we felt as though we could nearly touch them once we hit the peak. The quiet, sunbathed landscape was our playground for a good amount of hours!
After our decent and return to the parking lot near Window Trail, we listened to the beautiful songs of the frogs/toads in a small pool as we finished the day with a magnificent sunset alight with rich warm colors and a gentle breeze swept through making the whole experience beyond words.
All photos by Greg + Shawna V.