About the Site
Badlands National Park  


Park History

Pinnacles Overlook

Overlooks (North)

Overlooks (Central)

Overlooks (South)

Big Badlands Overlook

Door & Window


Cedar Pass Lodge

Cedar Pass Area

Badlands Loop Road

Norbeck Pass

Fossil Exhibit Trail

Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

Other Trails



Badlands Loop Road

Badlands National Park provide easy access to the many spectacular views with the Badlands Loop Road. This road runs about 30 miles along the upper rim of the Wall from the northwestern to the southeastern section of the park. It runs from the Pinnacles entrance to the Northeast Entrance to the park.

A number of turnouts along the side of the road with overlooks are found throughout the length of the Badlands Loop Road.

The Badlands Loop Road follows the original routes which were taken long ago by American Indians, trappers, traders, scientists, and politicians. Early pictures of the Badlands Loop Road show a gravel surface when it was first built.

When the national monument was first authorized in 1929 it was on the condition that the state had to acquire necessary land and build a road through the Badlands.

The South Dakota Highway Department created a plan for the road, but Peter Norbeck and Ben Millard, champions of park status for the Badlands, did not find the design satisfactory because it did not provide adequate access to the spectacular views of the Wall in various places. Ben Millard acted for his friend Senator Norbeck in redesigning the road's route.

The route designed by Norbeck and Millard is the route traveled today. It is visually spectacular, but the route as designed did provide some geographical challenges. No lesser authority on design that Frank Lloyd Wright praised the road after it was completed.

One of the ore challenging areas in which to build the road was Cedar Pass, where the road still requires considerable maintenance (below).

In 2001, the Badlands Loop Road was designated as a Scenic Byway.

For potential visitors, ParkVision recommends "Story Behind the Scenery" guides and "Trails Ilustrated" maps.

The speed limit on the Badlands Loop Road is 45 miles per hour. The road runs along the rim both on the north, or upper, side, as well as the south side. The Badlands Loop Road is currently Highway 240 in South Dakota. It winds about 30 miles through the park.

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

  • Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

  • Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to parkvision@shannontech.com

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