View more in
Interior, SD

Top 5 ADA-Accessible Hikes You Can't Miss in Badlands National Park

Posted by 
Brittany
Brittany
 2021-05-15

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a new adventure, Badlands National Park has something for everybody. That everybody includes people with disabilities.

While many national parks still aren't very accessible to wheelchairs and other tools, Badlands National Park has gone above and beyond to bring the outdoors to those in wheelchairs. If you or someone you love needs a wheelchair to get around, this park is a great place to go. Here are the top five ADA-accessible trails in Badlands National Park:

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4bB8y9_0ZtEOXYg00
A wheelchair won't keep you from enjoying nature in Badlands National Park.ArtHouse Studio | Pexels

1. Fossil Exhibit Trail

Stretching for a quarter-mile on a level boardwalk, the Fossil Exhibit trail is a fantastic way to start in the Badlands National Park. On this interpretive trail, you'll learn about the plants and animals that used to inhabit the Badlands region.

The trail includes many signs explaining what you're viewing. The trail is ADA-wheelchair accessible, and the signs even include braille lettering.

2. Window Trail

At just over a quarter mile in length, the Window Trail is another excellent one for the whole family. This trail follows a boardwalk, making it easily accessible for wheelchairs as well. This trail leads to an overlook at a natural "window" in the Badlands Wall. There, you can look out for miles over the pockmarked and multi-colored landscape of the park.

3. Saddle Pass

Another hike around the quarter-mile length, this boardwalk trail will take you up a steeper path than the first two hikes. It's still a boardwalk, but you'll need some extra oomph to get a wheelchair to the top.

Once you do, you'll be rewarded with a perfect view of the White River Valley. You can enjoy the view from the boardwalk, and then continue on to where the trail accesses the Castle and Medicine Root Loop trails. From there, you can decide how long (or short) you want your hike to be. Though if you're looking for ADA-accessible routes, the boardwalk ends with Saddle Pass.

4. Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

The Cliff Shelf trail takes you right up to the edge of the rock formations, where you can see the natural shelf formed by geologic changes in the Badlands. With informational postings, you can learn all about it from this trail.

Only the first half of this half-mile loop is ADA-accessible, but that's enough to get to the furthest viewpoint. This hike will challenge you a bit more than the others on this list, gaining some elevation on its way to the cliffs.

But the view at the end will make you glad you came. From this trail, you'll get views of a verdant Juniper desert oasis, a thriving pond habitat, and the Badlands Wall in the background.

Make sure you stay on the trail. The NPS has put up guard rails along the length of the boardwalk to keep you safe from natural dangers - and to keep the landscape safe from human damage.

5. The Door Trail

The first quarter mile of this trail has an ADA-accessible boardwalk, helping get you out into a new area of the park - and give you some excellent views along the way.

Along with the beautiful views you'll get from this hiking path, you'll also reach "The Door" - a gap in the Badlands Wall that perfectly frames some of the impressive sandstone formations behind it. The boardwalk ends here, so take your time and enjoy this natural viewpoint.

_____

If you're in a wheelchair, that doesn't have to stop you from enjoying the outdoors. With an impressive amount of boardwalk, Badlands National Park strives to make the wilderness accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy it.

Got a favorite hike on this list? Let us know in the comments!