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Entrance, Exit and Lunch

Livonia, Michigan
Level Contributor
286 posts
96 reviews
Entrance, Exit and Lunch

We plan to visit on Memorial Day driving from Hill City and returning to Spearfish.

Which entrance and exit is recommended? We have no interest in either the missle site or Wall Drug.

It doesn't appear there are many lunch options within the park so I'm planning to pick up something enroute. Any recommendations between Hill City and BNP?

2 replies to this topic
Peachtree City...
Level Contributor
1,523 posts
129 reviews
1. Re: Entrance, Exit and Lunch

There’s no real right or wrong way, but the typical pattern is to drive clockwise through the park and finish in Wall. So that suggests entering either at the eastern end of the park off of I-90 or coming in from Interior if you take the SD-44 Route.

From Hill City the two start points are essentially the same distance timewise - SD-44 is a little more scenic and remote (though of course the Badlands loop itself will be the most scenic drive). If you like that aspect you may prefer that route - if you’d rather stop to get something to eat on the way you would be better off with the interstate.

If you enter from the interstate you can tour the whole park in one continuous loop fashion. Note that you’ll get to one of the biggest parts of the park (the trailheads for the Window/Door/Notch trails) before you get to the VC. If you enter at Interior you’ll join the loop right at the VC. This means that if you want to stop at those trailheads you’ll have to drive there and then backtrack, but as this is 5 minutes or so it’s not like it’s a pain (or that the scenery isn’t great along the way). If you want you can drive up to Big Badlands Overlook, a nice view, before backtracking - no need to go further north than that.

I’ve done the trip both ways and I prefer the SD-44 path but either way is fine. The nice drive there makes up for the slight backtracking.

As for eating, I had dinner at the Cedar Pass Lodge and thought it was fine - nice to have an Indian taco in the area. I had read numerous conflicting reviews but our trip was fast and good. Or if you come via I-90, you could eat at Wall Drug - I know you have no interest, but it is undeniably a restaurant in addition to everything else and I had no complaints.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
33,400 posts
6,456 reviews
2. Re: Entrance, Exit and Lunch

We liked the Indian tacos at Cedar Pass Lodge too.

There is also a nice gift shop next to the cafe.

Be sure to see Roberts Prarie Dog town which is in the park. Cute prarie dogs.

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