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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Help! We are headed west next week on our fourth family x-country trek, and there are only three states the kids need to check off for the Lower 48. North Dakota is one of them.

We're going west to Mt. Rushmore, and then we'll head up to Theodore Roosevelt National Park for a day before heading off to Yellowstone for a few days. There's a somewhat limited window of opportunity, and I don't want to sacrifice time at Yellowstone for TRNP. No offense to Teddy, but I suspect there's a reason why Yellowstone is one of the premier parks in the world, and almost no one I've talked to has ever heard of TRNP.

We should arrive at Mt. Rushmore the afternoon of 8/15, and we can see the museum, the movie(s) at the visitor's center, do the Junior Ranger thing, and see the evening lighting. We'll stay in a hotel. The next morning, 8/16, we would leave early & head to TRNP, about a 5 or 6 hour drive, putting us there mid-day. I'm not familiar with TRNP or have an appreciation for its size or accessibility, but I think (hope) we can spend the afternoon there & be out by dark.

Here's the dilemma: We have one huge tent but would rather not set it up for one night in ND. Does anyone have any comments or recommendations on lodging, either near TRNP, or perhaps in Montana... maybe Glendive or Miles City? Is it feasible to make it to Billings?

Anyone have any strong opinions about how much time to spend in TRNP that we should consider?

I'm trying to figure that side trip out so that I can make campground reservations at Yellowstone pronto, because I know that window is closing.

Thanks Fodorites!!

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