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I'm going to the South Dakota Badlands soon and was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a short (3 or 4 miles max.), easy hike with great views. I'm going with my dad who has a lot of trouble on rocky and uneven terrain. I usually do quite a bit of planning for a trip like this, but I haven't had time to. Also, are there great things to see that aren't visible from the 2 main roads that go through the Badlands? I've got a Forester and if there was a mild dirt road that would take us to great scenery I would definitely drive it. Thanks for your help.
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I would recommend the Door Trail. Most bang for your buck and an easy trail if I remember correctly. If you have time drive through Custer State Park, including the Needles Highway. Well worth the time and great variety of scenery and wildlife, with many possible short walks including an easy stroll around Sylvan Lake. There's quite a bit you can see from the car in the Black Hills area.
I really liked the Sage Creek Wilderness area. It's a make your own way area (basically just game trails) with great chances to spot wildlife (I hiked among bison and pronghorn and there are also bighorn in the area). It is off trail so may be more than you are looking for, but I think you could put together a pretty easy 3-4 mile walk through the rolling grassy hills and stay off of the badlands. Here's a photo: