The Door Trail in the Badlands was a really fun hike for the boys. One of the reasons that they liked it is that it is not a well-defined trail. It wanders among rugged rock formations across the dusty terrain. The number one rule of hiking is to stay on the trail, because stepping on native plants kills them, which causes erosion because their roots no longer hold the soil in place. But in the Badlands, there are no plants and rocks are eroded steadily at the rate of an inch a year. So the boys jumped from rock to rock and had a great time.
The other thing the boys liked was following a series of twelve yellow poles that generally show the direction of the trail. These poles are numbered, and our 5 year-old would run to a pole and search for the next one. He had a lot of fun finding the best route to the next pole.
The Door Trail runs .9 miles according to park literature, but we clocked it at closer to three-quarters of a mile. The first portion is on a boardwalk that is very easy and wheel friendly. There is a great spot at the end of the boardwalk to overlook the Badlands rock formations with benches. After that, it is rough and rocky but perfectly flat. This is a great trail for any age kids, and we saw a lot of folks hiking The Door Trail. At the end, there is a nice overlook with a bit of a drop, so be a bit careful there. Also, make sure to take water, hats, and prepare with sunscreen as there is no shade in the Badlands!
This trail is located just inside the northeast entrance and pairs very well with The Window Trail. It shares a parking lot with The Window and The Notch Trails. This was our favorite hike in Badlands National Park.