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Petrified Trail Loop

  4.5 ( 6 ) Favorite


10.6 mile 17.1 kilometer loop


Ascent: 601' 183 m
Descent: -592' -180 m
High: 2,711' 826 m
Low: 2,419' 737 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


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Trail shared by Ethan Martinson


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This loop combines the North Petrified Forest Trail, Maah Daah Hey, & South Petrified Forest Trail.

Ethan Martinson

Features Birding · Views · Wildlife


This loop combines the North Petrified Forest Trail, Maah Daah Hey, and South Petrified Forest Trail to form a 10.5-mile loop. Most of the trail, including the entire portion along the Maah Daah Hey, is through prairie grassland. The trail can be extremely slick in places if it's rained recently.

Need to Know

There is almost no shade and no reliable water source. Some of the trail markers have been broken, but the trail is well worn and easy to follow.


The trailhead for this hike cannot be reached from the main road through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. To get there from Medora, go west on I-94 then take exit 23. Go north along Forest Service Road 730 and follow the signs for the Petrified Forest. You'll pass a private road sign, but you have permission to continue. Continue on this road until you reach Road 730-2. Turn right then take the first left. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended as the road can have large ruts and potholes.

There's about a 175-foot ascent in the first half mile of the trail which is the second largest climb along the route. The North Petrified Forest Trail portion is the most strenuous portion of the loop and contains the most elevation change. There's a 300-foot descent then immediately a 300-foot ascent just before meeting the Maah Daah Hey trail. The Maah Daah Hey portion is almost entirely flat open grassland. The South Petrified Forest Trail is also mostly flat open grassland except for the area where the petrified wood is located.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers, prairie grasses, bison, wild horses, deer, and rabbits.

History & Background

The petrified wood collection is one of the largest in the country. The north trail has the larger concentration of petrified wood.

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Land Manager: NPS - Theodore Roosevelt

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Aug 2, 2019
Joshua Peterson
Snacks and lunch totaled 1hr. 10.6mi — 6h 33m
Jun 27, 2018
Shelby Buchanan
Backpacked clockwise on our CC RT, summer of 2018. Andy and Shelby.
Jun 10, 2018
Darsha Maxson
Jun 1, 2018
silky mitts
Oct 14, 2017
Thomas Rose-Gray
gorgeous trail 10.6mi
Aug 20, 2017
Paul Mindeman
10.9mi — 4h 23m

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 6 votes


in South Unit


  4.5 from 6 votes
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in South Unit


in North Dakota


166 Views Last Month
2,722 Since Oct 15, 2016



6ft petrified stump located on the North Petrified Forest Trail.
Jun 3, 2018 near Medora, ND
Petrified Cypress trees.
Jan 17, 2016 near Medora, ND
Petrified wood along the North Petrified Forest Trail.
Oct 15, 2016 near Medora, ND
Petrified wood stumps along the North Petrified Trail.
Oct 15, 2016 near Medora, ND
Beautiful view of TRNP from the trail.
Jan 17, 2016 near Medora, ND
One of many Cypress stumps.
Jan 17, 2016 near Medora, ND


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