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