Located 70 miles from Rapid City, Badlands National Parks is another must for your South Dakota vacation. Boasting buttes, pinnacles and spires, the striated rock formations feature fossils along with wildlife. To make the most of your time in Badlands, stay at the Cedar Pass Lodge, located right inside the entrance.
Originally built in 1928, the cabins have been completely rebuilt. Find 26 single and duplex cabins along with a main building featuring a cafe and giftshop.
What I loved at Cedar Pass Lodge
The Quiet–When the day visitors leave, the park returns to its rightful owners–the animals. Most visitors miss the animal encounters since animals hide during the daytime, preferring the sunrise and sunset light. During my visit I saw wild turkeys, rabbits, a porcupine, bighorn sheep, turkey vultures and western Meadowlarks.
The Ambience–The Cedar Pass Lodge cabins offer a rustic warmth with hand crafted-furniture constructed of lodgepole pine. The cabin interiors are lined with pine as well.
The Convenience–Get of the all the amenities that modern travelers need. Find a mini refrigerator, microwave, air-conditioning and a heater. Also included are hair dryer, a coffee maker and a ceiling fan.
What I wanted at Cedar Pass Lodge
As a fan of National Park lodges, I love to meet other travelers in the common spaces, especially near a fireplace. Cedar Pass Lodge doesn’t offer a large gathering place. Instead most guests retreat to their cabins for the evening.
Like the lodging within any national park, guests might miss some conveniences. My cabin didn’t include an alarm, an iron or a bathtub. Like most national park lodging I have visited, Cedar Pass Lodge doesn’t feature a swimming pool.
Find a few picnic tables outside the cabins but grills are not included. Due to the dry conditions, open fires aren’t allowed in Badlands National Park including the Cedar Pass Lodge.
My cabin featured two Lodgepole Pine queen beds dressed with white linens and a Native America- inspired quilt. With a vaulted ceiling and light pine interiors, the cabins are cozy with ample space.
The bathroom featured a separate vanity area with stained concrete counters and double sinks. The toiletries included shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and a bath and facial bar.
Find a shower next to the vanity area, and my cabin didn’t offer a tub. The Cedar Pass Lodge cabins feature bamboo towels.
Find a tiny closet area with a rod but no door. Just big enough to hang clothes, yet too small to store my luggage. I left my luggage on the rack outside the bathroom.
From the porch of my cabin, I had a front row seat for a spectacular sunrise and sunset while sitting in my Lodgepole Pine chair. This is the ultimate place for coffee or a cocktail.
The Details of Cedar Pass Lodge
Located at 20681 South Dakota Highway 240, it’s in the North Unit of the Badlands National Park near the Interior Entrance. It’s open seasonally from April 15 until October 15.
Cedar Pass Lodge features 26 free-standing and duplex cabin units, built in 2013 to gold-level LEED standards for efficiency. Fabricated in nearby Rapid City of locally-sourced materials, the cabins feature beetle-pine paneling harvested from the nearby Black Hills, where pine bark beetles destroyed many trees.
The interior of the modern cabins feature two queen beds or a king bed with a daybed. All the lodge pole pine furnishings were hand-crafted in nearby Montana by a family-owned business, including the bed, the table and chairs along with the chest of drawers. The bedside lamp was crafted by the Lakota people. The front door features a screen to allow in fresh air.
Pets are welcome in the cabins with a $20/a night charge. The cabins are built around a horseshoe gravel drive and I parked in front of my cabin.
I visited the Cedar Pass Lodge in May.
Where to Eat at Cedar Pass Lodge
Find the Cedar Pass Restaurant located in front of the cabins. Open from April 15 until October 15 from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Serving a menu with local favorites, sample fry bread, Indian tacos or buffalo burgers. Also find locally-sourced fish and beef, along with South Dakota beer and wine.
Next to the Cedar Pass Restaurant, find an artisan gift shop with everything from local Native American wares to basic camping equipment and snacks.
Note: The restuaurant is closed for the 2020 season.
Badlands National Park
The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is within walking distance of the Cedar Pass Lodge. Open year round from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer.
The Door Trail and the Window Trail are close by and family-friendly. Junior Ranger booklets, the kids educational programming, are available at the visitor centers.
Know Before You Go
- The Lodge is open from late April until late October.
- Note for 2021–Dining Room is closed until further notice.
- Cell service is limited in Badlands National Park.
- The lodge has complimentary Wi-Fi.
- Guest laundry isn’t available.
Consideration for brands mentioned.