Castle Trail (Badlands National Park) 13-Sep-2019

As part of our homage roadtrip to explore a part of Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy, we did a lollipop loop hike in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. The park spans some 242,756 acres (982.4 km2) but there are developed trails only in its southeast corner near the visitor center. We elected to start at the Fossil Exhibit Trailhead, go east on the Castle Trail to its junction with the Medicine Root Trail near the Old Northeast Road, and then loop back on that trail (and the Castle Trail) to our starting point. After two days of clouds, wind, and rain, we were graced with an absolutely perfect blue sky day for a hike! 🙂 When it’s nice on the Great Plains, it’s really nice (of course the opposite is true too 😦 ). For most people this park is a drive through (but still scenic) experience but we were pleased to find more than a few people out enjoying the trails and scenery with us. Contrary to its non-indigenous name (les mauvais terres pour traverse) it proved to be an amazingly beautiful place for a hike. 😀

Badlands meet grasslands along the Castle Trail
Badlands
Mud crisps along the trail
Abstract in mud
Along the Castle Trail
Sky and clouds and grass
Clouds over the badlands
Over badlands along the Castle Trail
More abstracts in mud
Mal pais
A flower grows in the badlands
Looping back along the Medicine Root Trail
View from the Medicine Root Trail
Along the Medicine Root Trail
Back on the Castle Trail toward the trailhead
A beautiful day in the badlands
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