Devils Pass is a 9-mile round-trip hike through the badlands from the Magpie road trailhead. From the Magpie Campground it becomes a 10-mile round-trip hike. The trail follows the Maah Daah Hey Trail (MDHT) and gives you beautiful views of the badlands and a variety of terrain. Besides the landscape you may see some wildlife, including deer, antelope, and coyote. You could even come across prints and animal scat from a mountain lion. In the spring and summer there are a variety of wildflowers including the prairie rose, North Dakota’s state flower, and a false sunflower, among others. Devils Pass may look tame when it is dry, but it can be very deadly when wet, turning the hard dirt into a slippery clay.
From the trailhead parking lot, the trail is easy to find. Cross the gravel road and you will see the trail heading south. If you begin from Magpie Campground, follow the road to the back of the campground where there is a cattle guard. Cross the cattle guard, and you will see a trail to the right. Follow this trail for a quarter-mile where it joins with the MDHT. Take this trail south (right) until you reach the trailhead parking area (another quarter mile) and keep hiking south.
The trail is fairly easy to navigate as it follows the 144-mile MDHT that is marked by wooden posts with a turtle. If there is ever a moment when you aren’t sure where the trail continues, look for these posts. They are spaced in such a way that if you are standing at one post, you are able to see the next one. Sometimes they like to blend in with the landscape.
There isn’t very much water along the trail, and it can be very hot with direct sun in the summer, so be sure to bring plenty of water with you. You will pass two watering ponds, which are used for cattle and horses. Bring a water filter if you plan on using these. They are the only water sources and are not very dependable.
Be cautious of mountain bikers and horseback riders. The MDHT is open to both, in addition to hikers. Please follow basic trail etiquette when encountering others on the trail. Make sure to close any gates behind you as you pass through.