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hiking around the south unit of the park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Closest available address
315 2nd Ave Medora, ND 58645
Park = 24 hours. Main visitor center = 8:00-4:30, later in summer.
Best time to visit
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in the remote badlands and prairies of North Dakota. The park was established as a memorial to the larger than life 26th US President. It is made up of two main units and is typified by a rugged windswept land that is quenched by a winding river, softened by tenacious and verdant fields of grass and beautified by sheltered stands of juniper trees.
The park commemorates Theodore Roosevelt’s ranching and hunting days as a young man in North Dakota. Roosevelt first came to the area to hunt some of the last wild buffalo in the West. Shaped by the land both physically and philosophically, Roosevelt became stronger, more resilient and developed a lifelong passion for conservation. He later observed that but for his time in North Dakota he never would have become president.
The south and north units are about an hour and half apart by car so plan on a full day if you want to see both areas and take some walks. The primary activity in the south unit is an auto drive. Roosevelt’s first ranch cabin (see picture to the right) is in the south unit as well. Two enjoyable short hikes with brochures are the Coal Vein and Ridgeline Trails. The north unit, which is more rugged and less visited, offers great views at the River Bend Overlook. The park road may be closed in this area, but you can hike there via the 2 mile Caprock Coulee Trail. Roosevelt’s second ranch is at the small Elkhorn Ranch unit, but it is an isolated place and there is not much to see. The park does not have a lodge and nearby hotels can book quickly so make reservations well in advance if you plan to stay overnight. Wildlife, especially prairie dogs, and striking scenery are the main attractions here.
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