Established in 1978, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a United States National Park comprising three geographically separated areas of badlands in western North Dakota. The park was named for U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who owned and worked for a few years on a ranch now preserved in the park. The park covers 110 square miles (285 km²) of land in three sections: the North Unit, the South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch. The park's larger South Unit lies alongside Interstate 94 near Medora, North Dakota. The smaller North Unit is situated about 80 mi (130 km) north of the South Unit, on U.S. Highway 85, just south of Watford City, North Dakota. Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch is located between the North and South units, approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of US 85 and Fairfield, North Dakota. The entire park is contained within the Little Missouri National Grassland, and the Little Missouri River flows through the park. The Maah Daah Hey Trail connects all three units.
THIS WAS SUCH A GREAT HIKE! I did the painted canyon trail at the start of the morning, and talked to a girl at the visitor center and she recommended me this trail. She said that she usually walks the trail in a little over 2 hours. I thought she was crazy. But this trail brought you through the petrified forest. up to the top of the prairie grasslands, and down into the badlands. Seeing all the petrified forest was amazing how much there was just out here. Seeing the Missouri River from down below and the colors of the sediments was incredible. Then hiking the last third of the trail through the badlands was pretty awesome. The terrain had a couple steep moments, but they were just hills, nothing to complain about. If i would of see a bison or two in the prairie area I think would of made the most of this whole trail.
This was a nice warm up hike before i did some more hiking in the area. dropping in and coming out of the canyon wasn't hard at all. It didn't even seem like a 1.1 mile hike while doing it. It was awesome to see the different sediments up close, and being up close with nature with the interstate being right behind you.
Start this hike at the Nature Trail and then continue on. Trail markers are minimal so know your path before you go. Difficult loop to complete in part due to high temp when we went, largely exposed through hike, a few areas had tree cover. Saw Bison herd in the distance and one within 50 to 100 yards after mistakenly turning onto a closed trail while on the northern portion of the loop...We returned back slowly, keep your distance from these guys.
If you are completing the trail in the direction listed, you will climb out of an area with minimal tree cover, up a steep hill where you will T into a beautiful ridge line. We took a brief left which is incorrect and was where we saw the single bison sitting on what used to be a trail...instead take a right at the T and shortly after you will see a trail marker, continue on. From here on you'll have ridgeline views for quite some time.
Eventually, you'll cross the road that goes through the park, continue on to the River Bend overlook, a great place to stop for lunch. To continue back to your starting point, pass the parking lot and continue on the trail, directly next to the road at first before it bends away from the road.
Watch your footing and trail markers as there are portions here where you are on relatively smooth rock surfaces and social trails that lead to nowhere. At the end of the trail you will descend down a hill for a while, then cross the road to the parking lot where you started.
Todd H. on Petrified Forest Trail
There is a lot of petrified wood to look at on this trail which is interesting. Portions of the area are maybe like the surface of the moon or something.
Todd H. on Caprock Coulee Nature Trail
This hike was pretty mediocre. Not too much exciting to say about it. Some nice views on some parts probably best thing.
Wonderful trail with amazing views. Minimal trail maintenance. The trail is too small in width and has some relief where "off road strollers" (BOBs) for those parents with younger ones are not suggested. Suggest child carrier instead. Bring bug spray and expect to get your boots/shoes muddy in the low areas. Do not miss out on this opportunity!
Super pretty trail. If you start through the lowlands it doesn't seem like much, but after about a mile you climb to the top of a hill and then hike a ridge. There's a bit of a rock scramble that's not well marked and when it's windy it adds some excitement to the hike, to say the least.
Doug S. on Painted Canyon Nature Trail
Beautiful. Kg and Laney loved it.
Great area to get away in. I actually combined 2 of the trails by going down one, then going off trail way out and connecting with the other to come back up to the parking lot. My recorded route got cut off for some reason but you can see the majority of where I went. You can just wander out here and still keep your bearings. Beautiful beautiful area. I'll be back.