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

Watford City, North Dakota Map
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For North Dakota this is a good trail. it's a little hard to follow sometimes but doable. I didn't see a single person on the trail the whole time.

Coming down last 30 minutes was a little rough on my knees because of the steep decent but that's a personal problem.

Highly recommend it

hiking
1 month ago

Have been going nearby to Watford City for work frequently and finally thought of finding a nearby hiking trail after many boring nights in the hotel fitness center. Checked out reviews and this looked like a great trail that wasn't too short or too long. Happy to say this loop lived up to expectations!

The comment on here stating that the best view is behind the "improvised fence" was definitely correct. Took a few pictures and panoramic shots up there until I was satisfied. Had a Smiling Moose sandwich for dinner on the bench to the right of that "improvised fence" and it was awesome to have a good view of the Badlands at the same time. The River Bend Outlook was also an awesome place for pictures and I did enjoy hiking along the ridge-line for the rest of the loops afterwards.

I'm not an experienced hiker and this was actually my first real trail outside of the pushover "Green Belt" in Austin, TX. Had a good time and was surprised to finish the loop in about 2 hours, but I was by myself and only slowed down for pictures. In the near future I plan to return to this loop to hike the opposite direction, or try a slightly longer trail in the park. Thanks to the fun I had here, I plan to look up well rated trails around the Houston area and see if anything compares, which is doubtful.

Amazing hike, with spectacular views. We did it in three hours and stopped plenty for photos.

hiking
2 months ago

Had the trail all the myself, was very clean (no litter), easy to follow, and beautiful scenery.

Nice hike , not really sure it’s ‘hard’
Beautiful views though.

3 months ago

Great trail!

backpacking
11 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.

Gorgeous trail. The nature trail at the start is very informative. The ascent is steep but when you climb out of the trees it's well worth it. The descent was punishing. High steps that were jarring for this short person.

hiking
Saturday, August 05, 2017

Great challenge with amazing views.

hiking
Thursday, July 13, 2017

This trail was AMAZING! I loved the 'nature trail' section which was a great opportunity to learn about the geology and plants. Further on I experienced the best views I saw at the park, which is saying a lot... It seemed to be longer than 4 miles, most likely due to the amount of times I had to stop to take in the views. I was shocked and pleased to find myself alone throughout the entire length of the trail. With such grand views I would expect more people to frequent. 95 degrees isn't so bad when it is dry heat and with a heavy breeze. At a point in the trail, you will see an improvised fence blocking a side trail to the left. TAKE THIS TRAIL! You will be glad you did

hiking
Friday, July 07, 2017

One of the most spectacular trails I've ever done. Fantastic views at the top along delightful ridge trail and also very interesting under foot as you cross a bentonite clay section with active erosion. The ranger said this was the best trail in all of the Badlands. Lightly trafficked as we saw no-one else (likely due to the extreme heat).

hiking
Monday, July 03, 2017

very fun hike. I am a rather out of shape guy and only had issues getting up the first elevation rise at the parking lot. it was a very quick rise but after that the trail was easy peasy. lots of good views

trail running
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Defiantly a hard trail to run due to bison tracks making the trail really uneven but it's a great run if your looking for a challenge!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This trail was beyond my equipment and provisions. Physically, I could've walked the trail, however my judgement told me, I did't have the equipment required for such a trek. The outdoors requires a level of respect, and out hear anything can happen.

I enjoyed the photos, don't buy upgrades walk'em !

hiking
Sunday, July 31, 2016

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.

hiking
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This hike was pretty mediocre. Not too much exciting to say about it. Some nice views on some parts probably best thing.

hiking
Monday, July 18, 2016

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!

hiking
Friday, July 08, 2016

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.

backpacking
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Buckhorn trail at Theodore Roosevelt National Park north unit was a great one day hike. It had a great mixture of hills, flats, and scenery. My favorite part was seeing a massive herd of bison on the plateau.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Seriously phenomenal. We did the whole loop, so it was closer to 5 miles. The first section went through the lowlands, so bring bug spray!! Once you cross the road though, you will experience some of the most breathtaking views!! There are some spots that are a little dangerous--I wouldn't take unruly kids on this trail! We took our five and seven year olds and they did good on it. It's a great day hike with good spots for picnics too.

hiking
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This hike is pretty nice, it has a self guided hike which is a shorter part of the hike. There are pamphlets at the beginning of the hike. You can also continue on with this hike and it goes up on top of one of the hills. It is very shaded area and when you get to the top there is an awesome view!! Great hike! Its one of the best and shortest in the North Unit.

hiking
Sunday, July 06, 2014

A fairly easy trail. It didn't look like anyone had gone through and done any trail maintenance in a while, because the main trail was overgrown with lots of brush and plants. But, I'm not a faint hearted hiker, so this really didn't bother me.

hiking
Thursday, June 14, 2012

NOTE*** this trail is located in the North Unit of the park. It is an hour north of Medora. The closest city is Grassy butte or Watford City! This is a great trail for backpacking or an extended day hike. It stays on the north end of the park and there alot of up and down and you cross a creek. There is a spring located along the trail. If you start at the caprock coulee trail head you can see a prairie dog town just a half mile up.

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