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Pets allowed
Yes-restrictions
Elevation Gain
150.00 ft (45.72 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Badlands National Park can be daunting to some because it is one of the national parks that allows visitors to hike wherever they want in the park. There are only a couple of posted and maintained trails in the northeastern portion of the park, but the rest is fair game for backpackers and day hikers alike. The only significant restriction being is that tents must be pitched at least a half mile from any major road. This leaves planning your trip pretty open, and options are plentiful.

Reaching the famed Deer Haven area of the park, the only wooded area in the Badlands, is quite simple from the Conata Picnic Area, which is the best entrance to reach Deer Haven. Enter at the trailhead using either of the entrances around the burm gaurding the south and west edges of the parking area. Then head south to find a large clearing that contains wind-swept grass and a vast openness. A game trail can be found in this clearing, and it is relatively easy to spot from the streak that it leaves in the grass. This game trail winds through beautiful mountain areas and grasslands, and it does not require any climbing until one approaches Deer Haven. The trail is easy to follow and remains conspicous through the entire journey. Deer Haven is a beautifully wooded area that supports plenty of wildlife. Camp where you like and enjoy the views.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Not a crowded or heavily trafficked area, reception is good

Cons

No trails to lead where you are going, only use is maps

Trailhead Elevation

2,660.00 ft (810.77 m)

Highest point

2,680.00 ft (816.86 m)

Address

Conata Basin Rd
Wall, SD 57790
United States

Features

Vault toilet
Big Game Watching
Backcountry camping
Wildlife

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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