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blue Jones/Lower Talkington/Lower Paddock Loop

  4.8 ( 5 ) Favorite


11.8 mile 19.0 kilometer loop


Ascent: 509' 155 m
Descent: -507' -155 m
High: 2,500' 762 m
Low: 2,239' 682 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 10% (6°)


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Trail shared by Karen Ryberg


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A beautiful loop at any time of the year.

Karen Ryberg

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


This loop combines the CCC Trail, Jones Creek Trail, the Lower Talkington Trail, the Badlands Spur, and the Lower Paddock Creek Trail. You're likely to see bison and wild horses.

Need to Know

Very little shade and no reliable sources of water.


This is a loop recommended by the Theodore Roosevelt National Park's hiking guide and shown on their map. Stop at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visitors Center to pick up a map and ask about trail conditions. Expect to see bison and wild horses, as well as other hikers, runners and horseback riders. Some signposts are snapped off by the bison, but these trails are generally well-used and easy to follow. Almost all singletrack, dirt trails, except a gravel section near the end.

From the park entrance, follow the paved road to the Peaceful Valley Ranch parking area. Head northeast on the CCC Trail. There are many bison and horse paths in the area, watch for trail markers, study the map before starting and utilize the Hiking Project mobile app. After about a mile, cross the paved Park road and pass another parking lot, while continuing East on the Jones Creek Trail.

In another 2.5 miles, you'll come to the signed junction with the Lower Talkington Trail. This is a nice area to stop for lunch or a snack. Take a right following the Lower Talkington Trail to the Southeast for 1.8 miles, then take the Badlands Spur to the South. The trail approaches the park road and follows along it to the Southwest to a junction with the Lower Paddock Creek Trail.

Take the Lower Paddock Creek Trail to the Northwest for about 3.6 miles. This follows the creek to another parking lot and you take the gravel road from there to the paved park road, cross the road and continue a short distance to the Peaceful Valley Ranch parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Bison, wild horses, mule deer, white-tail deer, hawks, and wildflowers.

History & Background

Peaceful Valley Ranch was built in the 1880s and served as a dude ranch from 1918 to the 1930s. The ranch and its owners assisted in the establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

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Land Manager: NPS - Theodore Roosevelt

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Jun 17, 2019
13.1mi — 5h 35m
Jul 5, 2018
Ben Abbott
Drove the 30 mile loop in car. Got out of car to see prairie dogs a few times. 33mi
May 12, 2018
Kat Zelak
Jun 28, 2017
H.B. Montane
Very buggy, but beautiful.
Nov 26, 2016
Stephanie Ohms
Aug 23, 2016
Paja Stanul
Very nice trail! Make sure you have enough water. You can get lost very easy and take wrong turn to different trail so bring this app with you :) 12mi — 5h 15m
Aug 14, 2016
Jodie King
11h 30m
Dec 28, 2015
Josh Gibbel

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 5 votes


in South Unit


  4.8 from 5 votes
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