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Backpacking in the Badlands

  • Badlands National Park (map)

Are you ready for a backpacking adventure? We will be exploring the wonderous Sage Creek Wilderness area of the Badlands National Park, and spending the night in an oasis named Deer Haven. 

On Friday evening, June 21, interested participants can meet and camp in the Badlands National Park Cedar Pass campground for traditional tent camping in a group campsite. The main event will occur the next day, Saturday June 22 at 11 am Mountain Time, when participants will meet at the Conata Picnic Area. We will pack our backpacks together with the assistance of our experienced and knowledgeable guides, Luke Mickelson and Cindy Longmire. Participants may borrow a backpack, tent and sleeping bag, but only 8 sets of gear are available so sign up early to reserve your gear. If you have your own gear, remember to pack light, as you will need to carry 2 gallons of water in your backpack. We will hike game trails through open grassy landscapes in the Sage Creek Wilderness Area for approximately 3 miles to a large stand of juniper trees, called Deer Haven. There we will set up camp and then relax or continue to explore. In the morning, we will pack up and hike back out. This will be a great introductory hike for new backpackers, and a beautiful hike for experienced backpackers who may not have ventured into the Badlands before.  

For a review of this route and area, please see this webpage

For information on back country camping in the Badlands, please see

Back country camping is free, but participants will need to pay an entrance fee to enter the park. If you wish to camp Friday night at the Cedar Pass Campground, please let the event organizer know for campground registration. There are no other fees associated with this event for members, non-members will need to pay the $40 membership fee. Participants will need to bring their own water and food; a list of suggested light-weight items will be sent to participants.

Some precautions for participants: The earth in the Badlands is uneven, loose, crumbling and sometimes unreliable. Supportive boots are a must. Rattlesnakes may be present, but shouldn’t be a major concern. You will need to carry your own gear, which may approximate 20-30 lbs.  Your gear should not weigh more than ¼ your body weight, and it should be lighter if at all possible.

Participants contact by Friday, June 7th to register.

Earlier Event: May 18
Ziplining in the Hills!
Later Event: July 19
Camping and Kayaking