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Red Beds Trail

Intermediate
 4.7 (17)

A trail through beautiful ecosystems that offers far more than just views of Devils Tower.


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Map Key

2.9

Miles

4.7

KM

Out and Back

4,298' 1,310 m

High

3,902' 1,189 m

Low

472' 144 m

Up

457' 139 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

Similar to the Joyner Ridge Trail, this loop mostly descends as you leave the trailhead to a low point somewhere near the half-way point. Given that this is a loop trail, you can choose to hike it in either direction, but it's mapped here in the counterclockwise direction. The trailhead is located at the visitor center parking lot and is shared with the Tower Trail.

As you leave the trailhead, you'll wander through thinning ponderosa pine forest with views of the tower to your left. The trail passes through an open area and begins to contour the hillside around to the east. At this point, views to the south of the Black Hills, the Belle Fourche River and its associated floodplain are marvelous. The trail now begins a continuous descent of the south-facing aspect through meadows and occasional stands of ponderosa.

At about the 0.75 mile mark, you'll come to a junction with South Side Trail. This trail descends the hillside very steeply and leads to the Belle Fourche Campground. Continuing past this junction, you'll soon come to another intersection, this time with Valley View Trail. The Valley View Trail descends to the river a little more gradually before also leading to the campground. After passing this junction, it's pretty much all uphill back to the trailhead.

Continuing along the trail, you'll soon come to some beautiful red badlands. This geologic formation is a marvel in and of itself and is this trail's namesake. Geo-curious visitors may find this area as intriguing as the tower itself. Once you've had a chance to take in the sights here, continue past a junction with the Joyner Ridge - Red Beds Connector at mile 1.6 and begin the steep ascent back into the forest. You'll have good views of the tower as you ascend until you enter the denser forest.

Once in the forest, keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife - this is one of the best places in the park to encounter some of the park's original inhabitants. The final three-quarters of a mile of the trail meander and undulate through dense forest all the way back to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers abound in the meadows during the spring. Mammal species that you're likely to encounter along this trail include white tail deer, cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, and porcupines. As always, be alert as rattlesnakes are native to this ecosystem.

Contacts

Shared By:

Michael Blake 22

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 17 votes

#197

Overall
  4.7 from 17 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
18%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#9

in Wyoming

#197

Overall
78 Views Last Month
1,643 Since Feb 1, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Prayer flags tied to the trees
Nov 15, 2017 near Sundance, WY
Devil's Tower from the beginning of the loop trail that goes all the way around the tower.
Dec 19, 2015 near Sundance, WY
A red shale area of the Red Beds Trail.
Apr 28, 2017 near Sundance, WY
A view of Devils Tower, April 4, 2017.
Apr 28, 2017 near Sundance, WY
Devils Tower
Mar 6, 2018 near Sundance, WY
Tower Trail
Jul 28, 2017 near Sundance, WY

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Jul 9, 2020
Natalie Sobecki
Jun 29, 2020
Angela Guthrie
9h 00m
Sep 7, 2019
Ka Do
Sep 6, 2019
Joe Zerbe
2h 07m
Jun 22, 2019
Bryan Slaughter
Out West Trip 2019 2.9mi — 1h 50m
Jun 1, 2019
Steve B
4.3mi
May 14, 2019
Elissa Covey