Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
150.00 ft (45.72 m)
Trail type
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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)




Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round



Not a crowded or heavily trafficked area, reception is good


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)


Vault toilet
Big Game Watching
Backcountry camping

Typically multi-day


Permit required




Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.