THING TO DO

Hiking Badlands Back Roads With Your Dog

Two Siberian huskies standing on Old Northeast Road with badlands in the background.
Hike Old Northeast Road with your dog for an immersive experience in the prairie and views of the badlands.

NPS Photo Roberta Wendel

Scenic back roads in and around Badlands National Park provide an exciting back country experience for you and your dog. My favorite is the Old Northeast Road just north of Cedar Pass. This active ranch road takes you into the prairie and away from the highway. My dogs can sniff for rabbits and watch birds, while walking in the tracks of deer and pronghorn. We sometimes pass cattle grazing the ranch land.

Be sure to visit in the off season. The nights may get below freezing but the days are cool and the sun is warm. The rest of the year is too hot to travel with your pet in the car and you are bound to run into rattlesnakes on the roads.
Details
Leashed pets are allowed on park roads including back country dirt roads. Letting your pet off leash is not allowed for the safety of your dog and the best interest of your enjoyment. Rabbits, snakes, birds, deer, antelope, are all present at anytime and cause a real threat no matter how prepared you might be or how obedient your dog is in more familiar territory. 

Check out the pets page on the Badlands National Park website to learn more. 
There is a park entrance fee to be paid at the fee booth or at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center in Cedar Pass. 
The Old Northeast Road is just north of Cedar Pass in Badlands National Park. About a quater mile down the road is a parking spot for trail users. Be sure to keep valuables out of view and lock your vehicle. 
There is no reservation required for this experience. 
The best time of year is while the daytime temperatures are in the 40s and 50s, late fall, winter, and early spring. These lower temperatures eliminate the chance of running into rattlesnakes, especially at dusk and dawn. You also avoid the potential for heatstroke for both you and your dog.
The best time of day is dawn and dusk when the light is low and the color on the badlands is at their best. 

Last updated: May 3, 2018