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A secluded loop with river valley and prairie vistas.

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2,565' 782 m


1,950' 594 m


967' 295 m


967' 295 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


By using both the Long X and the Maah Daah Hey an aesthetically appealing loop is created. The Long X is seldom used and offers abundant solitude with great views and winding trail through different ecosystems. The Maah Daah Hey is well marked and well traveled making for smooth and fast hiking.

One drawback is the cattle on the Long X trail, which also causes there to be several different trails that can make trail identification difficult.

Need to Know

There are three trail junctions: The first is directly after starting out on the trail. The Long X heads to the right; the second is where the Long X meets the Maah Daah Hey; the third is where the Maah Daah Hey meets the Summit Trail.


Start at the parking lot at the end of the CCC Campground. Go through the gate and at the first trail junction, head to the right to follow the Long X trail. The trail winds down towards a creek crossing before heading up and back towards the Little Missouri River. Pass through a stand of trees before beginning a steady climb towards the plateau. The trail passes up a narrow valley in the badlands formations before heading up several switchbacks.

Once on top, pass through a gate and try to follow the trail generally to the south. A few gates in barbed wire fences will be crossed and the trail is often part of the ranch two track road, but can be done like a singletrack. The herd of cattle may be in the way, and will need to be skirted around. Cross open prairie and a few treed sections before coming to the junction with the Maah Daah Hey at another fence crossing.

Follow the turtle Maah Daah Hey sign posts, with the trail on the slanted side of the marker. Go through another gate and head down a steep, switchbacking trail over some badlands formations before reaching the junction with the Summit Trail.

Again, follow the Maah Daah Hey trail past a water trough and downhill through trees and open areas. Cross another stream and climb the other side passing along the edge of a hill before coming to s bridge across a small seasonal stream.

Head up and wind along, following the turtle signs until you reach a minor junction. This junction is just an alternate trail into the campground. Head left and back towards the gate and the starting point.

Flora & Fauna

Turkey, deer, coyote, birds, wildflowers, cottonwoods, aspen, willow, prairie.

History & Background

The Long X trail is named after the former cattle herding trail that runs through the area. The Maah Daah Hey is a 96-mile trail through the heart of the North Dakota Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


Shared By:

Kyle Thompson with improvements by James Hawkins

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 10 votes


  3.9 from 10 votes
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in North Dakota


11 Views Last Month
2,275 Since Jun 2, 2015



Long X to MDH
Aug 15, 2020 near Watford…, ND
Views towards the south. Credit: hoigaardsoutdoors.com
Jun 24, 2015 near Watford…, ND


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Aug 28, 2021
Patrick Dwyer
Do the short loop 12.3mi — 11h 47m
May 16, 2020
Kris Hallan
Jul 11, 2019
Alex Wittmershaus
Jun 23, 2019
Alex Wittmershaus
May 25, 2019
Casey Scott
Oct 24, 2018
Jericho James
My first hike in many years. Body hurts but great views. 11.3mi
Sep 30, 2017
Chaunci Mell
Jun 26, 2017
H.B. Montane