Grasslands National Park – East Block

This October I traveled to the East Block of Grasslands National Park. The weather was beautiful. The first day was windy and 7°C. We checked into our Otentik then hiked Rock Creek Trail to get a sense of the park. Later we drove to the Badlands Viewpoint area about ten miles south. Zahursky Point was our original destination. However we wanted to take advantage of the setting sun, so we stayed mostly atop the look out area. We captured some great views!

With proper clothing and sleeping gear the Otentik was warm enough that night. It fell to about -4°C, probably 4°C with the space heater inside. Any colder and it would not have been a pleasant stay.

The next day our destination was the Valley of 1,000 Devils. We left camp around 9:30am and followed the trail left (southwest) after the bridge. The beginning is a well beaten path over undulating terrain. The first landmark we encountered was a fence with a large opening. From there the path climbs towards a distinct rock mesa atop a hill. The trail winds southwest around it and not long after fades out. We ambled down the hill and crossed a dry river bed. At this point our objective was the water drop. Skirting the large hills and heading southwest we passed a few more creek beds. The water drop is right by the road (goat trail) running north/south. From here we turned southeast to find the red Adirondack chairs and the valley.

The lighting was not the best being as we were there around noon. Sunrise and sunset would be prime photography times. The three of us scouted the area for ninety minutes before trekking back. Most people camp the night, which breaks up the hiking and permits more time to explore the valley. It took us 2 – 2 1/2 hours to reach the valley. However, once you know the route this decreases. Spring and fall are great times to visit as it is cooler and less crowded.

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