December 17 Road Closure Near Visitor Center
December 17: Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240) will be temporarily closed at Cedar Pass for emergency repair work. The closure is expected to be in place for two to three weeks, weather dependent. An alternate route to access Interstate 90 will be posted. More »
No field trip would be complete without an opportunity to hike at least one of the three recommended trails for K-8 self-guided field trips. Teachers can conduct activities along the trails. Please see the Cedar Pass Area/Trail Map (29 KB PDF) for exact trail locations.
Door Trail: The trail is an easy and accessible ¼-mile boardwalk with wayside exhibits about geology along the way. At the end of the boardwalk, the terrain becomes uneven with steep drop-offs. Travel beyond the boardwalk should be strictly controlled by adult chaperones. Pit toilets are located in the parking lot.
Cliff Shelf Nature Trail: This ½-mile loop trail follows a boardwalk and climbs stairs to a nice view of the White River Valley. The trail winds through a juniper forest and offers many opportunities for plant and wildlife habitat observation. Wayside exhibits on the geography and history of the Cliff Shelf area are displayed along the trail. There are no toilets available; however, the trail is located ¼-mile from the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.
Fossil Exhibit Trail: This trail is a ¼-mile boardwalk loop. Replicas of fossils discovered in the badlands are displayed along the way. Pit toilets are located in the parking lot. A small shelter is available on a first-come, first-served no-reservations basis at the trailhead.
Did You Know?
The former Pig Dig was discovered in June 1993 when two visitors from Iowa discovered a large backbone protruding from the ground near the Conata Picnic Area. Originally thought to be a 4-day excavation, field work continued for over a decade, yielding more than 10,000 fossilized bones for study.