Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

on Harmon Lake Trail

3 days 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.

5 days ago

Great views

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!

Fun trail for various ages! Great activity for a family!!

Nice short hike with beautiful views. The colors are spectacular at this spot.

trail running
1 month ago

Very fun. Close to town but wasn’t busy.

mountain biking
1 month 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!

1 month ago

This one is pretty straight forward. Paved trail that leads to a great overview. We enjoyed the climb up the hill and the incredible views at the top.

We really enjoyed this hike. Plenty of stairs but they lead to great views of the badlands. Not a long hike. Buffalo tracks on the trail after you clear the stairs so be prepared for wildlife on this one. We enjoyed all our hikes in Teddy Roosevelt NP. I hope the pictures posted will help you with your trail planning!

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.

Great views, creek crossing can be somewhat challenging. I joined this trail with the talkington ‘sp ‘ trail. Underestimated water usage. Temps over 90. Great way to experience the Park.

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.

1 month ago

Awesome view! Loved every second of it!

mountain biking
1 month 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!

1 month ago

It was good. Nice easy trail and we saw a bunch of Buffalo off in the distance at sunset

on Bison Plant Trail

1 month ago

As of right now, there is a sign on the gate that says the trail is only open on the weekend. There is also construction going on near what looks to be the parking area.

Amazing views, paste your self on the trail unless you love stairs. Overall it kicked me and girlfriend butts and was definitely a good hike.

2 months ago

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

2 months ago

The trail is a great way to experience the park. I did this on a 100 degree day in July, but the actual hike was not that challenging, providing you bring enough water. The biggest challenges were the flies and frequent crossings of a muddy creek.

6 months ago

Nice and easy

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 !

8 months ago

Got my hopes up for this trail to see beautiful painted colors canyon. I was not impressed. I've seen better ones in other parks down in Arizona and Nevada. The trail was also steep and everything just seemed pretty dull. Maybe it was the wrong season for it? Who knows

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!

Breathtaking and dusty! A perfect diversion from the drive on I-94. The entrance to the park is also a highway rest stop.

8 months ago

It's not much of a hike because one can drive to the top of Buck Hill, but the views are sweeping and the wind whips across the badlands. The sensations are amazing. You'll likely have the hill to yourself.

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.

9 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.

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