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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

78 mi 125 km of trail 6 Featured Hikes

Gems 3 Gems Easy Trails 29 Trails Intermediate Trails 4 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a one-of-a-kind park with a unique history. In addition to being a memorial park commemorating former president and ardent conservationist Theodore Roosevelt, the land is also recognized for its distinct cultural heritage and varied natural resources. In the 19th century, cattle ranching became one of the chief uses of much of the Badlands, and many came West to seek their fortunes. While cattle brought Theodore Roosevelt to the area, it was the beauty of the landscape that made a deep impression on him. Theodore Roosevelt National Park celebrates the role that the dramatic hills played in shaping one of America's greatest conservationists. While no longer used for grazing today, the park preserves the ranching history of the region. Today, the 70,448-acre park is home to a variety of animals and continues to memorialize the 26th president for his enduring contributions to the protection of our nation's resources.

To learn more about Theodore Roosevelt National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Located in the Badlands of western North Dakota, the park is comprised of three areas: the South Unit, the North Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. The South Unit entrance is next to the town of Medora, the North Unit is approximately 14 miles south of Watford City, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit is located 35 miles north of Medora.

South Unit Visitor Center Hours (note that the South Unit operates on Mountain Standard Time):
  • June - September: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. MST
  • October - May: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MST
  • Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
North Unit Visitor Center Hours (note that the North Unit operates on Central Time):
  • Tuesday - Friday: 10:00am - 3:00pm
  • Saturday - Monday: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Visiting Tips

The park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Summer weather tends to be mild with highs in the 70s to 80s with the chance for the occasional thunderstorm. Winter and spring can be quite cold, and visitors are advised to come prepared for blizzard conditions. The park can be windy year round.

Fees and Passes
To find more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Lodging
While no lodging is available within the park, the adjacent communities offer a variety of accommodations near the park. More information about lodging near the park can be found here.

Camping
South Unit:
  • Cottonwood Campground: Open year round. 76 sites with 37 reservable sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Roundup Group Horse Campground: Open from May 1 through October 31. Primarily used for groups of up to 20 people accompanied by horses or up to 30 people without horses. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

North Unit:
  • Juniper Campground : Open year-round. Sites available on a first come, first served basis; 50 sites and 1 group site; only the group campsite is reservable.

Backcountry:
  • While there are no established backcountry campsites, visitors can camp up to 14 days in the backcountry and must obtain a free backcountry permit from the visitor center. More information on backcountry camping can be found here.

Food & Drink

While the park does not operate any restaurants, many dining options exist in Medora, Watford City, and in the surrounding communities. Visit the park's website for more information.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Guided Tours:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs that vary by season. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

Other Activities

Whether you are interested in hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, or fishing, Theodore Roosevelt offers a multitude of ways to explore the park. The park also contains several sites of historical significance, each associated with the era of cattle ranching in the late 1800s. Most significant is Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch Site, the main ranch site where he spent the bulk of his time and where many of his conservation ideas grew. Other sites include Roosevelt's first ranch home, the Maltese Cross Cabin, the Long X Trail which was used as a corridor to move cattle into the Northern Great Plains in the 1800s, and Peaceful Valley Ranch which was built in the 1880s and served as a dude ranch from 1918 to the 1930s. Visit the park's website for more information on the numerous ways to explore the park.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free maps and brochures to help plan your trip, click here.

Areas Within Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Gems in Theodore Roosevelt National Park - 3

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite The sun sets over the Wind Canyon Trail as a distant rain shower adds to the drama. Photo credit: NPS/Dave Bruner.

Wind Canyon Overlook

(6) Medora, ND
gem Favorite Roosevelt's Maltese Cross Cabin is a must-see in his namesake national park.

Maltese Cross Cabin

(4) Medora, ND
gem Favorite Elkhorn Ranch is a must-see in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Photo credit: NPS/Laura Thomas.

Elkhorn Ranch

(2) Medora, ND

Featured Hikes in Theodore Roosevelt National Park - 6

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

Favorite More of the Bad
Intermediate

Painted Canyon

1.1 mi 1.8 km • Loop • 262 ft Ascent 79.71 m Ascent

(10) Medora, ND
Favorite View of the Little Missouri and southern part of the park.
Intermediate/Difficult

Achenbach Loop

18.4 mi 29.7 km • Loop • 2,289 ft Ascent 697.69 m Ascent

(7) Watford…, ND
Favorite Horses along the way also seem to enjoy the Jones Creek Trail.
Intermediate

Jones/Lower Talkington/Lower Paddock Loop

11.8 mi 19.0 km • Loop • 509 ft Ascent 155.16 m Ascent

(6) Medora, ND
Favorite 6ft petrified stump located on the North Petrified Forest Trail.
Intermediate

Petrified Trail Loop

10.6 mi 17.1 km • Loop • 601 ft Ascent 183.11 m Ascent

(7) Medora, ND
Favorite View of the Little Missouri and southern part of the park.
Intermediate

Caprock Coulee

4.2 mi 6.7 km • Loop • 631 ft Ascent 192.42 m Ascent

(10) Watford…, ND
Favorite The Buckhorn Trail provides ample views of open space as you travel. Photo credit: NPS/Laura Thomas.
Intermediate

Buckhorn Trail

11.3 mi 18.2 km • Loop • 1,040 ft Ascent 316.86 m Ascent

(4) Watford…, ND

Trails in Theodore Roosevelt National Park - 27

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

0.2 mi 0.3 km #1Boicourt Overlook Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
0.2 mi 0.3 km Medora, ND
0.6 mi 0.9 km #2Ridgeline Trail
Intermediate
Medora, ND
Intermediate
0.6 mi 0.9 km Medora, ND
1.7 mi 2.7 km #3Badlands Spur
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
1.7 mi 2.7 km Medora, ND
0.5 mi 0.7 km #4Wind Canyon Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
0.5 mi 0.7 km Medora, ND
2.1 mi 3.4 km #5Painted Canyon Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
2.1 mi 3.4 km Medora, ND
1.9 mi 3.1 km #6Big Plateau Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
1.9 mi 3.1 km Medora, ND
4.2 mi 6.8 km #7Lower Talkington Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
4.2 mi 6.8 km Medora, ND
0.1 mi 0.2 km #8Sperati Point Overlook Trail
Easy
Watford City, ND
Easy
0.1 mi 0.2 km Watford City, ND
3.6 mi 5.8 km #9Jones Creek Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
3.6 mi 5.8 km Medora, ND
0.8 mi 1.2 km #10Coal Vein Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
0.8 mi 1.2 km Medora, ND
15.1 mi 24.3 km #11Achenbach Trail
Difficult
Watford City, ND
Difficult
15.1 mi 24.3 km Watford City, ND
5.2 mi 8.3 km #12Lone Tree Loop Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
5.2 mi 8.3 km Medora, ND
1.7 mi 2.8 km #13Ekblom Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
1.7 mi 2.8 km Medora, ND
0.9 mi 1.4 km #14Caprock Coulee Nature Trail
Intermediate
Watford City, ND
Intermediate
0.9 mi 1.4 km Watford City, ND
3.3 mi 5.3 km #15Caprock Coulee Trail
Intermediate
Watford City, ND
Intermediate
3.3 mi 5.3 km Watford City, ND
2.6 mi 4.1 km #16Mike Auney Trail
Intermediate
Medora, ND
Intermediate
2.6 mi 4.1 km Medora, ND
0.8 mi 1.3 km #17Painted Canyon Nature Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
0.8 mi 1.3 km Medora, ND
4.5 mi 7.2 km #18North Petrified Forest Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
4.5 mi 7.2 km Medora, ND
3.7 mi 6.0 km #19Lower Paddock Creek Trail
Intermediate
Medora, ND
Intermediate
3.7 mi 6.0 km Medora, ND
4.0 mi 6.5 km #20South Petrified Forest Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
4.0 mi 6.5 km Medora, ND
2.8 mi 4.6 km #21Petrified Forest Loop Trail
Easy
Medora, ND
Easy
2.8 mi 4.6 km Medora, ND
4.1 mi 6.6 km #22Upper Talkington Trail
Intermediate
Medora, ND
Intermediate
4.1 mi 6.6 km Medora, ND
6.9 mi 11.1 km #23Upper Paddock Creek Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
6.9 mi 11.1 km Medora, ND
3.4 mi 5.5 km #24Roundup Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Medora, ND
Easy/Intermediate
3.4 mi 5.5 km Medora, ND
0.1 mi 0.2 km #25Skyline Vista
Easy
Medora, ND
Easy
0.1 mi 0.2 km Medora, ND
1.0 mi 1.6 km #26CCC Trail
Easy
Medora, ND
Easy
1.0 mi 1.6 km Medora, ND
1.6 mi 2.6 km #27Rim Trail
Easy
Medora, ND
Easy
1.6 mi 2.6 km Medora, ND

Photos of Theodore Roosevelt National Park - 76

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

View of the Little Missouri and southern part of the park.
Apr 19, 2015 near Watford…, ND
Oxbow Overlook, North Unit, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Apr 23, 2015 near Watford…, ND
View from the point furthest from out on the Ridgeline Trail
Apr 23, 2016 near Medora, ND
Windswept grassy hilltops cover the southern portion of the loop.
Jul 9, 2017 near Watford…, ND
Oxbow Overlook, North Unit, Theodore Roosevelt NP
Apr 23, 2015 near Watford…, ND
The sun sets over the Wind Canyon Trail as a distant rain shower adds to the drama. Photo credit: NPS/Dave Bruner.
May 25, 2017 near Medora, ND
Enjoy a sweeping view down to the south from the River Bend Overlook. Photo credit: NPS/Mark Meyers.
May 25, 2017 near Watford…, ND
Little Missouri River in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Apr 24, 2016 near Medora, ND

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