Explore the most popular birding trails in North Dakota with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The June day we hiked was perfect 70F, partly cloudy with a mild breeze. The grass was green and flowers in full bloom. The main challenges were crossing the Little Missouri River and the Knutson Creek. The trail had some steep areas when leaving the valley getting up to the plateau, but nothing too slick or dangerous. We crossed through a pass and came across a geological formation of gray sandstone just couple hundred yards off trail. We hike through the grass to examine the structure. We were rewarded with close encounter to the sandstone shield with pillars and capstones. It was about 75 foot in diameter and 40-foot-tall with no growth on it. We climbed around and enjoyed lunch before continuing on trail. We looped on the Big Plateau Trail back to the river. Most hikers do not cross the river, our hike was quiet and we did not see any other hikers after crossing river. One note, ticks are heavy in this area, make sure to use Deet liberally and monitor. I give this a 4 star for well marked, easy to follow trail and the quiet colorful environment.

This trail was somewhat overgrown and is primarily used as a connector trail for some of the wilderness trails and the Jones Creek trail. The trail is not well marked and can get confusing with many of the horse and bison trails in the area.


Did not call ahead but did leave a donation in box. Hot and sunny hike - glad other hikers had suggested pants for the tall grass. No problems with pants. No problem following trail as there we foot print in the sandy part for us to follow. If you hit the sandy part and are not sure where to go - the trail is to the right side of the butte wrapping around the back of it. There was a log book to sign so someone must have brought a new one. Fun high point! Did not see any snakes or wildlife. Enjoy!

Great hike with the family! My 4 year old and 8 year old had no trouble at all. We wore thin pants and T-shirts since it was warm out and the long grass didn’t bother us. Super fun hike for the whole family!

My sister and I hiked this with my 4-year old and 1-year old. We loved this trail! We used the guide booklet available at the trailhead to learn about the area and keep the kids engaged. The guide is very well designed, and we really enjoyed learning about how the different rocks formed and the why the rocks are the colors they are. It was a perfect hike for our group!

on Harmon Lake Trail

1 month ago

About a 9 mile hike. Went with my sister and it took about 3.5 hours to complete with a few water breaks. The view of the lake is beautiful and the trail itself has some good variety in terms of terrain, scenery, animals and plants.

I arrived at 630am and was treated to a beautiful view atop North Dakota's highest point!

I didn't drive completely to the trailhead. I opted to stop before the trees near the fence (near). I'm glad I did, my SUV wouldn't have liked the road much further!

After the first initial climb, you're treated to some waist-high grass, wasn't my favorite in shorts. The summit needs a new log book, every page was full!

Just prior to arriving at my car, these mosquito-like bugs started attacking me. The bites swelled up quickly but never itched much. No idea what got me!

The trail is not maintained much and you can lose it in the high grass, but just keep looking for higher ground and you'll find it again!

1 month ago

Loved this trail!! Amazing history! If you are going through the park, dont pass this one up!

mountain biking
2 months ago

Nice flowing single track trail winding along the lake and surrounding hills. Good mix of technical area in the trees with free flowing area on surrounding hills. They added and additional 4.2 miles of trail so it's now 13.2 miles around, well worth riding!

2 months ago

This one is pretty straight forward. Not a long trail, but it provides some good views of this portion of the Badlands. You can definitely see the coal layer of the Badlands along this trail.

Quick and easy high point to hike. We had a more difficult time locating the trailhead than anything else. We also had some concerns about the location being on private property. But we didn’t have any problems. We didn’t see anyone in the hour we were there. We called ahead twice with the number on summit post.org. And didn’t get an answer either time. We drove the car along two track on the the right side of the fence to a small hill just before the trail head. This app was very helpful in making sure we stayed on trail. There was one sandy spot at the base that was confusing. When we started going the wrong direction, we were able to turn around and pick up the right trail immediately.

2 months ago

Good short hike! Trail was super easy to follow. Definitely worth your time.

mountain biking
2 months ago

My first time ever off road mountain biking- I had a great time! The harder part is that I was out of shape, so it seems harder. I’ve already done it again 2 more times since then- improved my time!

2 months ago

Wish the trail was longer, we had the chance to be 5 feet from a bison which was pretty awesome.

3 months ago

Fantastic trail . Easy to follow.
I did hiking
I saw many biking there ,
I will go again for sure

I followed Waze app and takes you right to the mailbox for donations and start. Be sure as others say stay on right side of fence(he even has cameras). Pass old farm house and enter through gate. Trail is to the left as you reach bluffs. Nice hike and awesome views !

Fun short hike with a beautiful vista, particularly at sunrise.

Follow the AllTrails directions and it will take you right to the donation mailbox. Follow the barbed wire fence/road to the base of the trail unless you want to add a short walk to the trail.

The directions google gives leads to the wrong location.

A local came up on his quad and had me follow him to the trailhead. He stated he has been trying to get google to change the location but hasn’t had any luck so far. Great guy!

If you go to the spot where google takes you, with that place on your left, drive another 1.5 miles and turn left. The trailhead is down this road. You will come across the mailbox with the padlock on your right. The local told me I could drive down the fence line until the end and park there instead of parking by the mailbox.

Nice little hike to stretch my legs and knock out another high point!

10 months ago

Due to past washout, the trail was hard to follow. With so many other spectacular trails in the park, this one isn't as impressive. I did spot a mule deer at close proximity along this trail.

You’re fine as long as you stay to right of the fence. It’s a fun interesting and easy high point (my 7th) that’s offers some fairly unique views. Well worth it.

10 months ago

We had a great hike here over the Labor Day long weekend. The badlands rock formations are wonderful and we had the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife including Bison, Prairie Dogs and even a rattle snake. The first mile or so of this track (starting near the park entrance) is a bit narrower and steeper than we expected. I would suggest long pants because the undergrowth is quite prickly.

I think recent changes in the area have led to some confusion. Looking from the mailbox towards the butte, you'll see a dirt driveway with a No Trespassing sign on the left, a wire fence, and a faint tractor road immediately to the right of the fence. You'll want to park at the mailbox and walk down the tractor road, staying to the right of the fence at all times. If you're on the same side as the old farmhouse, you're good. The owner of the driveway does not want you on his side of the fence (driving or walking) and seems to be stepping up enforcement, so I would not be surprised by further changes at this intersection.

Going from the mailbox, the whole up-and-down is probably about 3.5 miles. Depending on weather, the hike can be muddy in spots, including at least one steep location where it can be difficult to gain purchase. Don't wear any shoes or pants that you mind getting muddy.

Overall, it's a solid highpoint (my 35th) with good views of the surrounding prairie land.

The peak is still open to the public. The neighbor has been putting up no trespassing sign. The mailbox where you leave donations should still be across the gravel road from the trail head, but may not be marked. You do not need to call for permission, just respect the private property. Park on the gravel road and walk 1 mile down the two track, past the picturesque old farmstead, to the gate on your right. Walk through the gate and find the trail to the left. The owner is OK with this. I talked with him last week.

Ended up finding the route after following Googles terrible directions (it leads you to a property with a no trespassing sign). I didn't verify AllTrails directions...

Owner didn't pick up the phone when I called but I left money and a note in a mailbox with a padlock on it. This mailbox is across the street from a tractor road that is currently fenced off with barbed wire, but if you follow the fence (it will be on your right) you will see a faint set of tractor tracks. This adds maybe another mile to the trip.

Eventually, I walked by a copse of trees and an abandoned farm house to a gate where I was greeted by a herd of cows. After going through the gate, I continued to follow a well worn pathway to the summit.

Great views (especially to the southeast). Ran into another highpointer on the trail - what are the odds?

Definitely an adventure with some areas through high grass and jumping small rivers but worth it to see every type of topography the park has to offer. Saw bison bones on the hike but limited animal life in August

The access road where the no trespassing sign is posted has very fresh fence posts and barbed wire across it. You are unable to access the approach road and it is very clear the owners of the property no longer wish to allow hikers up the trail. A real shame.

Once we figured out how to get there it was great. The google directions are correct. The only sign is the one on Hwy 85 to turn south. From there go 4.8 miles and turn right (west). This road ends at an intersection. There is an unmarked, padlocked mailbox with a slot in the front. I hope this is the donation mailbox I've read about. At this intersection, turn left onto the sketchy road. There is a no trespassing sign next to the road. After much hesitation we determined that this meant, please stay on the trail and off the rest of my property. We took the road until it was no longer driveable, it was too washed out to continue. We walked to the end of the road where there was a fence with a gate secured shut with only a rope. From there we followed the foot trail to the summit.
The trail was mostly easy to follow. There are a few small cairns along the way. It is not difficult, but quite steep in several spots. Wear hiking shoes. It was dry when we were there and the ground was loose and crumbly in places. I fell/slipped on a steep downhill. I wouldn't attempt this trail if it was wet. And no, we did not see any rattlesnakes.

Land owner has posted no trespassing signs and removed previously mentioned contributions box. Seems like access is no longer open to the public. Bummer ☹️

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