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



The Door and the Window

The WindowThe Window is a naural opening which provides a view of the canyons, valleys, and cliffs below the rim of the Wall. The trail to this feature is located along the side of the Badlands Loop Road just north of Cedar Pass and a few miles south of the Northeast Entrance.

The Window Trail is very short trail about a quarter mile in length in length. The first part of the trail is covered by a boardwalk (shown below).

The trail leads directly to The Window. This feature is an opening which provides spectacular views of the formations of the Badlands toward the east and the south. It reveals spires, gullies, ridges, and buttes.

As with the other formations along the Wall, the opening at the Window was carved by the erosive effects of wind and water.

The Window provides a view to the lower prairie 200 feet below.

The area of Badlands formations which is apparent from the Window is the wildest in the Park. There are interesting formations along the trial on the way to the Window as well.

Glaciers which scoured the northern part of the continent never reached the area of Badlands National Park. All of the carving of formations in the park area are a result of wind and water.

Across the road from the trailhead some of the upper prairie and the formations near Cedar Pass can be seen.

The Door Just to the north of the Window is a trail to The Door. This trail to The Door is approximately .75 miles in length.

The Door Trail leaves from a parking lot along the Badlands Loop Road north of Cedar Pass. This area is located about 3 miles inside the northeast entrance to the park. It leads through a narrow opening in The Wall and provides a spectacular view of the cliffs and formations of the Badlands.

The formations of the Badlands provides some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere on the Great Plains. The views from this and other overlooks in the park reveal spires, peaks, and ridges. The average difference in elevation between the upper and lower prairies, divided by The Wall and its fantastic formations, is about 200 feet.

The Sioux term for the land is "mako sica", similar to the name "badlands." Looked at in one way, the lands aren't bad; they are magnificent and fascinating. But they were considered bad by Indians, explorers, and travelers in the sense that the land provides little food or drink or comforts for humans in the area.

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

The term "badlands" first applied to formations carved by erosion in short-grass prairies from eastern Wyoming through southwest South Dakota to northwestern Nebraska. However, the term has become most often is now applied to the White River Badlands preserved in this park. For the modern visitor the views are magnificent, and easy to access from an outlook along the side of the road. They were a little more formidable to early explorers and visitors, and were described as "unimaginable desolation."

- Next Page for Badlands National Park -

  • 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

··· Catalog of Badlands National Park Images Available for Licensing ···