OverviewPainted Canyon Scenic Viewpoint is a rest area on I-94 at the southern border of the South unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The viewpoint sits at the edge of a grassy plateau where you can look north to see the ground dropping 200 feet into colorful badlands. A 2.1 mile long trail goes from the viewpoint down into the badlands to reach Paddock Creek Trail.
Getting ThereTake Exit 32 and turn north to reach Painted Canyon Visitor Center. Trailhead is signed at the eastern end of the parking area.
Sunrise from Painted Canyon Scenic Viewpoint.
Go to the east end of the parking area where you will see a sign for Painted Canyon Trail. Follow the trail east at the edge of the plateau. Looking north into the badlands.
After going past some sort of a facility, a trail branches left (north) and goes down into the badlands. This is the wrong way. Keep going east until the trail itself turns left and goes down into the badlands.
Down into Painted Canyon.
Continue on the trail until you reach the signed junction with Paddock Creek Trail.