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Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Mechanicsville...
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Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Our family of 4, including our 12 and 9 year olds, will have one day to explore BNP in mid August. We will be driving to and from Keystone that day. What are your suggestions for a one day itinerary? What are the must dos?

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

You can do a lot in one day in August provided you get an early start because it stays light so late. Here's what I'd recommend:

Enter the park at the Pinnacles Entrance by leaving I-90 at Exit 110 (Wall) .

If you want to see the Roberts Prairie Dog Town, go east on the gravel Sage Creek Rim Road

After seeing the prairie dog town (or if you decide not to go) drive west on the Badlands Loop Road, stopping at all of the scenic overlooks (you can get out and climb around) and do the short Fossil Exhibits Trail.

Stop to tour the exhibits at the Ben Reifel Visitor's Center. Eat a picnic lunch there or have lunch at the Cedar Pass Lodge.

Continue north on the Badlands Loop Road and stop to do the walks at the Notch Trail, Window Trail and Door Trail. The Door and Window Trails are short and easy, but, my favorite was the Notch Trail because of the unique log ladder and the amazing views. It may, however, not work for your kids as it is longer (1.5 miles) and has drop-offs. You can read descriptions of all the trails on the Badlands NPS website: www.nps.gov/badl

If you want to do a longer hike, do the Medicine Root Loop. It's not difficult, but it is longer (4 miles)

Continue driving on the Badlands Loop Road and exit the park at the Northeast Entrance.

If you want to do the hiking first and save the prairie dogs to the end of the day, the trip can be done in reverse order. (I don't know, however, the hours of Roberts Prairie Dog Town).

Edited: 12:10 pm, March 08, 2014
Mechanicsville...
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2. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

This is awesome! Thank you!

South Dakota
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3. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Great itinerary from Longhorn. Realize that weather will be a factor in what you do that day. August temps can hit 110. It's one of the hottest places in SD. Bring lots of water and stay on marked trails. The suggestion to do the hiking first, during cooler morning hours, by reversing the trip is a good one.

Mechanicsville...
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4. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Thanks for your recommendations!

Mechanicsville...
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5. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Longhorn, which exit would I take if I reverse your suggested itinerary to do hiking in the morning? Thanks!

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

So, if you want to do the hikes in the morning, enter the park at the Northeast Entrance (Exit 131 from I-90). At the end of the day, you can exit through the Pinnacle Entrance which will take you directly to Wall via Route 240. If you want to go see Roberts Prairie Dog Town, go past the road to the Pinnacle Entrance and drive the gravel Sage Creek Rim Road. After the Prairie Dog Town, you can take Route 502 north and then east on Route 590 which will intersect with Route 240 just south of Wall.

There's a map on the Badlands National Park website which shows this: www.nps.gov/badl

Mechanicsville...
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7. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Thanks, Longhorn!

Long Island, NY
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8. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

I just came home from a trip that included an overnight at the Cedar Pass lodge. Too add to what was said above- Definitely stop at the Pinnacle overlook. One of the better ones. From here going towards the visitors center is where we saw lots of mountain goats. Also, the lodge food really isn't good. Must be something better in Wall. Badlands is pretty when it's sunny, when overcast it became repetitive. We had both. My only complaint about this park is that when you are driving it, the first sign says "overlook" and then when you are at the overlook it says the name.

Mechanicsville...
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9. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

Awesome! Thanks, Walnut123.

10. Re: Suggestions for one day itinerary in mid August

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