Badlands National Park Cabins: Cedar Pass Lodge Guide

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Planning a family escape to Badlands National Park in South Dakota? If you’re looking to stay in a cabin inside the park boundaries, you’re going to want to head to Cedar Pass Lodge, the only spot in the park with cabins for rent.

This isn’t just a place to stay; it’s the ultimate basecamp for eager explorers like you. Imagine waking up surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Badlands, with the convenience of being right in the heart of it all, in close proximity to all the bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs and rock formations that your family is dying to see.

Staying in the cabins at Cedar Lodge is perfect for families because of the easy access to hiking trails, conveniences like a restaurant and store, and the proximity to the visitors center where you can learn all about the park.

Let’s take a look at the offerings of Cedar Pass Lodge and Campground, where the charm of the cabins, the delights of the restaurant, and the treasures of the gift shop come together to create an unforgettable experience for every family.

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Cedar Pass Lodge: Background Information

The original Cedar Pass Lodge was around before the Badlands was even a national park. Opened in the late 1920’s by a local businessman, the campus originally included not only the cabins, but also a gas station, grocery store, even a dance hall!

The current eco-friendly cabins of Cedar Pass Lodge were built in 2013 (they are rated gold-level per LEED standards), and they’ll serve as a home away from home during your park stay where you’ll be enveloped by sky, stars, and lots of nature.

Badlands National Park Cabins at Cedar Pass Lodge

In case you’re confused (I was)…Cedar Pass Lodge doesn’t actually have a “lodge” persay in the traditional sense. There are not hotel-style rooms on property. The only accommodations available here are, in fact, the cabins.

With options for two queen beds or one king bed (they added a cot for our family as well upon request), plus a private bathroom, it’s comfort meets Badlands charm.

cabin in Cedar Pass at Badlands National ParkPin
national park lodging at it’s finest…minimalist, basic, clean and swimming in rustic charm! Here’s our Cedar Pass Lodge cabin

You’ll have all the modern amenities in your cabin like air conditioning, a TV, hair dryer, coffee maker, flush toilets (woot woot!)… even a ceiling fan. So this is perfect for those families who don’t want to sacrifice comfort while they’re exploring this rugged landscape.

That said, there is free wifi service, but it is spotty (signal seems best inside the restaurant/gift shop areas rather than individual cabins) so if you’re needing to work during your Badlands trip, perhaps accommodations outside the park would be best for your needs.

Personally, having a little less wifi and access to modern entrapments amps the number of starts on my personal park lodging rating scale…less temptation for everyone, including me. But I know that that’s not an option sometimes for folks.

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just sittin’ – no phones, no distractions

The best part is that Cedar Pass Lodge is right where you want to be. It’s the best central location to all the cool stuff – hikes, ranger programs, and those jaw-dropping Badlands views.

Not to mention, the handcrafted pine chairs on the deck are perfect for soaking in those Badlands vibes.

family lounging inside a Badlands national park cabin at Cedar Pass LodgePin
a look inside one of these rustic cabins with its vaulted ceilings & lodgepole pine furniture

It’s important to note that Cedar Pass Lodge is not open year-round. The season goes from late April to late October.

Also, it’s not easy to get reservations at Cedar Pass Lodge. There are only 26 cabins available here, so booking early is important. The cancellation policy is generous, so that’s helpful if your plans should change.

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Here’s a peek into our Cedar Pass Lodge cabin – we arrived late at night, so the video is dark, but it will give you a taste of what it’s like inside these units

Cedar Pass Restaurant

Fuel up with locally and regionally sourced dishes served throughout the day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This restaurant located in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center is now just convenient; it has really delicious food, too!

There’s one dish that steals the show – the Sioux Indian Taco.

These Indian tacos feature a large, fluffy fry bread topped with refried beans, your choice of buffalo meat (or a zesty vegetarian black bean burger), shredded lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and a sprinkle of black olives.

Served with a side of salsa and sour cream, it’s a Badlands-sized treat you won’t forget. And it will give you plenty of fuel for a day of hiking in the Badlands!

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Exterior of the main building at Cedar Pass Lodge | NPS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Cedar Pass Gift Shop

Step into the Cedar Pass Gift Shop, where each item tells a story. Whether you’re looking for a special souvenir or a handmade masterpiece, this store has it all.

From South Dakota and regional handmade gifts to Northern Plains Native Arts, the diversity is as vast as the Badlands themselves.

Cedar Pass Lodge sign in Badlands National Park South DakotaPin
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Convenience and Camp Store

For those staying at the campground or anyone in need of a quick bite, the Convenience and Camp Store at Cedar Pass Lodge has you covered.

Grab convenience food, snacks, ice, and beverages to fuel your adventures. It’s a convenient stop for all your needs, ensuring you can focus on enjoying the Badlands without a worry.

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playing with shadows along the Fossil Exhibit Trail in Badlands NP

Camping at Badlands National Park

If you’re considering giving up the creature comforts of a cabin or hotel room and having a more rugged experience, there are a couple options in the park for a camping experience.

  • Cedar Pass Campground– Located near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and run by the Cedar Pass Lodge, this campground has 96 sites (including RV sites) with scenic views of the area.
  • Sage Creek Campground– This is a first-come, first-served campground with 22 sites located on Sage Creek Rim Road. It has no modern amenities outside of picnic tables and pit toilets, so come prepared!
  • Back Country Camping– If you want an even more rugged experience, you are welcome to set up camp at many locations throughout the park without a permit. Talk to a staff member at the Ben Reifel Visitors Center or a park ranger at the Pinnacles Entrance Station for more information.
  • Boondocking– If you are traveling in an RV, the boondocking area located above the rim near the Pinnacles Entrance has unparalleled views. Keep in mind there are no hookups here, and everything is first-come, first-served. It can also be difficult to park or leave when the area is muddy, so keep an eye on the weather.

Staying outside the park

While Cedar Pass has the only cabins inside Badlands NP, there are other close by options for your stay.

Aramark, the same company that operates Cedar Pass Lodge for the NPS also operates Badlands Inn, with motel style rooms located less than 1 mile from the park entrance. If you want to stay as close as possible to the park, but can’t get a cabin at Cedar Pass for your trip, this is where I’d recommend trying to stay.

Other options that are near include:

  • Badlands Frontier Cabins
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Wall
  • Hansen Inn & Cabins
  • Best Western Plains Motel
  • Sunshine Inn
  • America’s Best Value Inn Wall
  • Welsh’s Motel

Truthfully, I’m not excited by any of these options. But they do have convenience going for them.

If your family plans on not only visiting the Badlands, but also other nearby attractions in the surrounding area like Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, Custer State Park, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, or the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation…there are other lodging possibilities I like MUCH better. Check out this article about the best things to do in South Dakota for the details.

Location-wise, I highly recommend staying in the Black Hills region as there’s so much to do in that area.

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Staying in the Black Hills region will allow your family to be close to lots of South Dakota attractions, like Mount Rushmore!

Nestled within Badlands National Park, the Cedar Pass Lodge cabins offer an unparalleled retreat.

With eco-friendly accommodations, breathtaking views, and convenient access to park attractions, these cabins offer the perfect place to stay.

Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty, comfort, and unique experiences that only Badlands National Park cabins at Cedar Pass Lodge can provide.

Pin this Badlands National Park cabins information for later! And if you found this article helpful, leave a comment on the pin. That helps others decide whether to use this information, too!

All you need to know before you go: Badlands National Park Cabins at Cedar Pass Lodge #badlandsnationalpark #familytravel #usnationalparksPin
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About Heather Thibodeau

Heather Thibodeau is the founder and mom behind nationalparksmom.com.

She and her husband Dave (AKA Tib) are on a mission to travel to as many US national parks with their three kids in tow as they possibly can, doing their best to keep the little ones out in nature and off of screens in an increasingly digital world.

Heather has earned degrees in biology & chemistry from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies), and holds master's and doctorate degrees in physical therapy from Duke University (Go Blue Devils).

Heather is also the creative force behind The Heathered Nest where she shares her love of all things DIY and home decor.

Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, This Old House, Today.com, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and more.

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