Cedar Pass Cabins At Badlands National Park

The author’s assigned Cedar Pass Lodge cabin, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

I’d planned to visit Badlands National Park in South Dakota during the first week of April. Family responsibilities required a departure delay to much later in the month, which worked out well, regarding lodging. Had I left earlier, one of the hotels in the small town of Wall (pop. 700) would serve as my photographic “basecamp.” A new arrival date of April 21 instead of April 6 meant I could reserve a Cedar Pass Lodge cabin, the only in-park accommodation.

Open from April 19 – October 20, 2024, and operated by concessionaire Aramark, Cedar Pass Lodge offers 23 renovated (in 2013) cabins. Each eco-friendly cabin has custom lodgepole pine furniture, a mini refrigerator, microwave, air conditioning and heat, coffee maker, a ceiling fan, and satellite TV along with the usual amenities (soap, shampoo, lotion, hair dryer, cups).

Located at 20681 South Dakota Highway 240, the cabins and main building are about two miles east of the small community of Interior, South Dakota, and situated between the Cedar Pass Campground and the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, all within walking distance of each other.

A higher-elevation view of the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, Cedar Pass Lodge cabins, Cedar Pass Campground, and the small community of Interior, South Dakota in the distance, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

King duplex, ADA, two-queen bed, and two-queen bed + futon cabins are offered. Each cabin has a front and back porch with chairs and there is a picnic table in the back. I stayed four nights in a two-queen bed cabin at a cost of $239.14/night, including tax. Not a bad deal on which to splurge, considering some in-park lodging can cost over $400/night (hello Yellowstone).

Cedar Pass Lodge cabins, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

A view of my cabin’s back porch, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

The main building hosts the lobby and reservations desk, a gift shop, and a restaurant. In addition to t-shirts, Black Hills gold jewelry, and other souvenirs, the gift shop provides a small selection of cold drinks (alcoholic and non), snacks, and cooking items (although no salt or pepper, to my chagrin, since I forgot to pack those two condiments). Having brought my own food, I did not eat in the restaurant. Of the cold drinks, I can tell you they had a nice assortment of South Dakota and Montana beers to go with my meals.

While my wants are few, I do expect certain things at any brick-and-mortar lodge. I want a working toilet, sink, and shower. I don’t want any strange or strong pervasive odors in my room. I want the room to be clean and the wastebaskets empty. I want to feel safe. I got all of those plus a fridge, microwave, and a coffee maker (with single-serve coffee packets and the usual java condiments). The sturdy rustic wood furniture added a nice touch and I enjoyed both the natural light and steady breeze offered by the screened windows around the cabin (those April days get quite warm in the Badlands).

Interior cabin view looking from the front door to the back, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

Interior cabin view looking from the back door toward the cabin’s entrance, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

There were not as many electrical outlets as I would have liked but I always pack a surge protector for my laptop and battery chargers. I never watched the satellite TV so I can’t say much about that, although I thought it was a nice extra touch out in the hinterlands of Badlands had I needed a dose of CNN, TCM, or Syfy programs. I did have issues with the remote to the wall AC/heater, but ultimately figured it out, even though the remote is not that intuitive. Everything else worked as expected and the locks on both front and back doors were sturdy. I felt comfortable and safe, which is important for a solo woman traveler like myself.

Of all the places I stayed during my eight-day South Dakota road trip, I enjoyed the cabins the most. If you are thinking of a trip to Badlands, you should consider one of these cabins, which are large enough for a family of four or five, depending upon cabin choice. You’ll need to make reservations far ahead of your arrival time, though. With only 23 units available, they get snapped up quickly.

Note: Cedar Pass Lodge does not allow pets, and they will assess a $250 fee if they find evidence a pet stayed in the cabin.

The view from Norbeck Pass on the way toward Cedar Pass Lodge, Badlands National Park / Rebecca Latson

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