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Window Trail – Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park, South Dakota


The Window


less than 1/4 mile roundtrip

Parking Lot Elevation

2605 ft

Time Required

Less than 10 minutes


Not allowed on any hiking trails in Badlands


There are entrance fees to get into the park

Water Info

Bring a bottle of water if you need it

Best Season

Spring, Summer, Fall


Open year round

Sun Exposure

No shade

Trail Condition

Wooden boardwalk


Yes. Pit-style. Located at the parking lot

Visitor Center

Yes. The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is located just south of here




Camera, hat and sunglasses if needed.

GPS Coordinates:

Window Trailhead: 43.76031, -101.92806

Trail Map

Driving Directions

The Trail:

Window Trail

This very easy trail is only about 1/4 mile round trip.  It is entirely on a wooden boardwalk and ends at a beautiful overlook which is a “window” to the Badlands.

Window Trail

Since I was already in the area doing the Door Trail I figured I may as well do the Window trail.  It was a piece of cake and I wasn’t surprised to see lots of families with children again on this one.

Window Trail

You simply begin at the southern end of the parking lot, get on the boardwalk and head toward the Window!

Window Trail

Looks like a mini Bryce Canyon

Looks like a mini Bryce Canyon

Window Trail

While I was taking pictures I was eavesdropping on some strangers talking about Badlands.  One older couple said they were from Indiana and they were absolutely amazed and dumbfounded at this overlook.  According to them, they had never before seen such a place like this nor imagined a place like this ever existed!  They thought this was one of the most incredible places they had ever seen in their lives.  The other couple, who apparently had been here before, agreed with them.

To me, being from Utah and having visited Southern Utah all my life where sites like this are common, I was extremely interested in their comments.  I have seen places like Bryce Canyon and Goblin Valley, which look oddly similar to the Badlands, and I don’t think I was as struck by their beauty as these folks were in the Badlands.  It just made me think that I sometimes take for granted the amazing beautiful places I have near my home.  These folks had to travel over 800+ miles and they couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

The Return:

Head back the same way.

Personal Thoughts:

This was a very easy and very short hike to a beautiful window view to the Badlands.  If you are doing the Door hike you should also do the Window hike.

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Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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