Explore the most popular camping 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.

Nice easy hike with great views and some cool history! I went on a nice warm december day so the trail was a mix of ice and mud (bring boots). the road was closed leading to the trail so you have to walk about 5 minutes up the hill to get to everything. Saw some wildlife and my dog had a blast running through the prairie grass

5 stars bc ND is so limited on nature trails. Great views!

Hiked for 4 days and never saw another person on the trail!

Gorgeous scenery. Loved the ridges and the rolling prairie grass. Lightly traveled- even on a weekend, I was the only person hiking although the campground was full. Trails very well maintained.

3 months ago

Did about 10 mile stretch between MM 60-70. Very well marked. Gorgeous scenery. Absolute serenity- I never saw another person. I was lucky to be there while it was dry. In wet weather, the mud would have made it a very different hike for me!

Nice loop featuring good blufftop views of the Missouri River and downtown Bismarck. Also features the site of an 1800's military outpost. Mostly exposed to the sun, so bring water, hat, and sunscreen in summer. Overall, one of the best hikes in central North Dakota.

As of 2018 the trail system is now over 10 miles. Most recently added is the Ravine Ravine. This trail is 2.5+ miles and has 2 water crossings. One of the water crossings has a bypass if you don't want to get your feet wet. This is a great getaway less then 20 miles west of Grand Forks ND. Park pass required, but worth every penny.

nature trips
6 months ago

Camped. Hiked. Played in the river. Observed a lot of nature with the kids. Trails are narrow in many areas. Great for mountain biking. Camping areas are in wooded areas to stay cooler in the summer heat. Lots to see and do!

My wife and hiked this trail in early June 2018 and loved every mile of its ever-changing scenery! We planned two nights out but heavy rains kept us off the trail and sleeping in our car in Juniper campground the first night. This place is solitude at its best—we were the only ones in the backcountry on a Saturday. The trail is challenging and will throw a lot at you: mud, high winds, poison ivy, ticks, river crossings, navigational challenges. These will vary based on the time of the year. We’re fast hikers but our overall average speed was only 1.5 mph.

We hiked the trail clockwise beginning at Juniper Campground and got one river crossing out of the way right off the bat. The river was swift and just over waist high. The riverbed is silt here and footing was sketchy. The second river crossing below Oxbow Overlook was easier as the riverbed is more rock than mud and footing was much better. There was a lot of mud and standing water on the trail from the previous night’s rain. The Bentonite clay that forms many of the badland features is very slick when wet and literally cakes the bottom of your boots with a thick layer of mud.

We had a GPS with a track of the trail, which came in very handy when we weren’t sure if we had gotten off the main trail or not. Many game trails intersect the trail. Every few minutes you should see an older wooden or newer brown Carsonite post. A few were lying on the ground. A ranger told us they have been working to improve navigation on the trail and this appeared evident to us. We still had to refer to our GPS numerous times.

Along the way, we stopped at Achenbach Spring to refill water. It had plenty of flow. It’s a pretty steep descent down to the spring. If it’s wet at all, good luck staying upright. We were getting buffeted by 50+ mph winds while walking the high prairie areas on either side of the spring.

We hiked about 13 miles the first day and camped in the valley a couple miles beyond Oxbow Overlook at the base of a butte. The grass in the cottonwoods along the river was too high and tick infested to consider camping in. Erosion of the buttes over the eons has created nice beds of sand at the base of them allowing for beach-like camping. Our boots and socks stayed off the entire evening. It was amazing to sit back at dusk and listen to the wildlife. Given the higher latitude and being at the far western edge of the Central Time Zone, it didn’t get completely dark until after 11pm under a clear sky. Several coyotes barking at our tent jolted us from sleep at 1am--a little frightening to say the least.

The next day we finished the trail. The first few miles after camp were spectacular! The climb up toward River Bend Overlook is steep and intersects with the Caprock Coulee Trail. We had to yield to a large bison standing at the intersection. Going right on the CCT follows a narrow ridge with the best vistas on the trail. Once we reached the road, we opted to hike it back to camp to finish out the loop.

All-in-all a great, challenging hike. What we liked best about the trail is the variety of habitats, the vistas and wildlife. Some of the amazing badlands formations deserve extra time for exploring. There is not a whole lot of info online about this trail so if you have questions, I'll try to help. Feel free to email me at rbell@digitalcarto.com.

Our tips: treat all of your clothing with Permethrin for tick control. Load a track of the trail on a GPS or phone app.; it will save you time. Always keep looking forward for the next trail marker. Stay off the badlands formations if its raining.

8 months ago

A nice and easy hike
Good for biking too
Nice view of the river
Part of the time.

8 months ago

10 months ago

Went on Fort Lincoln’s Mother’s Day Hike. North Dakota can be pretty sometimes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Great place to hike for a few hours. Well maintained with a few small senic views here and there. No real chance to go out and get lost though if that's what you are looking for.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Awesome trail. Took me about 10.5 hrs to complete. Very little water in the late season.

Monday, August 28, 2017

3rd and drew d2 ewew we 3s WA 3se

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nice walk, sometimes a little narrow-but good trails.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Someone should update the map, it starts down in Amidon, 144 miles long total for the whole.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

We did this hike today. Had a great time! We even saw a deer. Definitely gna go there again!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Nice, easy trail with a few small inclines. The mosquitoes can be unrelenting however so if you go when they're out, make sure you bring lots of bug spray and be ready to reapply frequently. Overall though, especially considering the area, it's a nice little park.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Great trail that is marked very well with lots of scenery. Didn't hike much of it but what I did I really enjoyed. I'll be going back for more that's for sure.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

pros: pretty area, beautiful foliage, great trails - looking forward to cross country skiing this winter
cons: you can hear the highway, dogs must be leashed, MOSQUITOES - worth waiting until it gets too cold for them

Monday, May 30, 2016

great views, easy stroll, many places to camp along the way.

mountain biking
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mountain biked part of this trail in 2005, then hiked other sections in 2007 or so. When raining the clayey, gumbo soil can be difficult to ride in. During dry weather, (or when the ground is frozen), it is easy riding and walking. Very hot and dry in the summer, so be prepared. It is the best marked trail I have ever been on, with two green wooden posts visible at most locations on the trail.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nice trail with a few inclines. Need bug spray. Most of the trail is shaded by wood cover. $5 parking fee.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I have not quite completed this trail in its entirety quite yet, but I will. I have sweated many hours hiking this trail, camping along this trail and experiencing blisters and being coated in thick mud. I love this trail. I hope to finish it soon, as I cannot find people many people to do a more than 1 day hike. But be careful when it rains, the ground becomes very slick and could be very hazardous to your well being.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I tried to hike this trail in the late Spring and was surprised at how poorly it was kept up. Several sections had been taken out by landslides or completely overgrown. On the whole, the countryside and rustic appeal of the canyons and rock formations was enough to offset the sometimes very rough hiking. Caution to those who attempt this trail when it rains: The mud on these rocks is like glue mixed with cement.

mountain biking
Sunday, September 07, 2014

It gets five stars because it is the only decent single track you can ride in the County. Convenient if you're on the AFB too.

mountain biking
Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Really unique place to Mt. Bike. Probably the top of my list. Only did about 10 miles, but need to go back someday and do the whole thing.

mountain biking
2 months ago

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