“This is a loop trail with a steep descent and steep return ascent and beautiful badlands scenery.”
— Karen Ryberg
Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This short trail with great views is located conveniently next to the visitor center.
Pets in the park must be restrained at all times, and are not permitted in park buildings, on trails, or in the backcountry. Be aware that dogs can agitate bison and other animals, creating a dangerous situation.
Start at the Painted Canyon Visitors Center, open seasonally May through October. If the visitors center is closed, you can still take the exit off Interstate 94 and park on the road in front of the gate and walk through the pedestrian gate. Do not block the vehicle gate as the Park Service needs to access the area for administrative and safety purposes.
Proceed to the Visitors Center and go through the obvious pathway to the north side of the structure to the Painted Canyon Overlook. This is one of the most popular spots for viewing the scenery in the park.
Take the paved trail to your left, and you'll come to the Painted Canyon Nature Trail
trailhead. Follow the trail down as it loops downward into the canyon, then back up. The ascent is steep and the maximum grade is 20% but not rated as difficult because of its short length.
Flora & Fauna
Bison, wild horses, juniper, native prairie grasses.