Must-Do Hikes in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Hike across barren badlands rippling with stratified rock. Penetrate ancient forests of petrified wood. Discover sublime lookouts and surprisingly beautiful panoramas. It's all here waiting for you on these hikes:
1. Skyline Vista
Arrive in Theodore Roosevelt National Park with this 10 min hike to Johnson's Plateau, where winds whip through your hair while you look out over some of the best scenery the park has to offer.
2. Coal Vein Trail
The coal vein stopped burning in 1978 after almost thirty years alight, but this trail is an insight into the unique geology of the badlands' terrain. You'll learn about 60 million years of geological history, including the composition of the bands of color embedded in the rocks. This 30 min hike stretches for just under 1 mi. and includes stairs.
3. Sperati Point via Achenbach Trail
Explore one of the most diverse prairie ecosystems in the world as you hike towards an overlook on the Little Missouri River. This gently undulating hike lasts about one hour and is just under 2 mi. long.
4. Buckhorn Trail
It takes all day to hike these 11 mi., but on the way you will find yourself immersed in surreal landscapes, including prairie dog cities, phalanxes of sagebrush, plunging canyons, and panoramic prairies.
5. Petrified Forest Loop
In about five hours, you can cross these ancient petrified forests and rugged wildernesses. Along the way, you'll follow the North and South Petrified Forest Trails before joining the famous Maah Daah Hey trail.
Great Places to Stay Near Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Best Outdoor Adventures in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Horseback ride through spectacular prairies like a real cowboy. Cross country ski or snowshoe in the winter. Fish for your dinner as golden eagles soar above your head. Here are some unmissable park experiences:
1. Bison spotting
DNA research has shown that the park's bison population aren't native. They are descended from wild animals caught as far afield as Texas and Saskatchewan. Though they nearly went extinct in the 1800s, the bison have flourished once again on the 70,466 acres of parkland they now roam. Keep a wide berth if you encounter these powerful creatures along your path, and track them from the Visitor Centers.
2. Ranger Guided Hikes
Learn about the wildlife and cultural history of the park first hand from experts on guided hikes throughout the summer months. You'll get a special insight into points of interest and seasonal phenomena as they occur.
3. Canoe the Badlands
Float down the Missouri River to drink in the shimmering beauty of North Dakota. Canoeing down the river for the full 107 mi. takes five days, but shorter journeys are also possible.
Top Lodging Near Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Best Family Activities in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Teddy bears are named after the 25th President of the United States, but you might just spot a real bear in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Brown Bears are among the thrilling apex predators who lumber through the badlands. Look out for mountain lions and wolves, along with prairie dogs and wild flowers. Here's what else you and your family can discover in the President's favorite park:
1. Maltese Cross Cabin
Roosevelt famously announced that he would not have been President had it not been for his experience in North Dakota. In 1883, he purchased the Maltese Cross Ranch, and jumped boots first into cowboy life. His focus on conservation is a central reason that we have retained the parkland in such pristine condition. The President wrote several of his books on the desk you see. School children can also watch an online movie about the ranch.
2. Wildlife watching
One of the main reasons that families stay in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Cabins is for the wildlife watching potential. It's not just bison that inhabit the badlands: it's America's fastest land animal, the pronghorn; badgers and mule deer poking about at dawn and dusk; coyotes howling at night, and golden eagles dominating the sky above the Little Missouri River floodplain. Bobcat sightings happen too, though they are rare and limited to the summer.
3. Evening Campfire Programs
Take part in an evening campfire program in Cottonwood or Juniper Campground. Park Rangers will offer you an insight into the history, ecology, and geology of the National Park that sprawls beyond the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Cabins. Gaze up at the stars and feast on s'mores.