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Theodore Roosevelt National Park Travel Guide

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  • Photo: RRuntsch / Shutterstock

Plan Your odore Roosevelt National Park Vacation

Across the open plains of North Dakota, you can travel for miles without seeing a house or business. But today, with some towns doubling in population due to a new landscape formed in the wake of the discovery of the Bakken Oil Field, you are more likely to see one of 8,000 wells and countless drilling rigs on the horizon than you are deer or antelope. That same development is slowly encroaching

on the craggy ravines, tablelands, and gorges of the North Dakota badlands.

For a century and a quarter, the terrain remained virtually unchanged from the day Theodore Roosevelt stepped off the train here in 1883, eager to shoot his first bison. Within two weeks, the future 26th president purchased an open-range cattle ranch, and the following year he returned to establish a second, which is part of the 110-square-mile national park that today bears his name.

Roosevelt became dedicated to the preservation of the animals and land he saw devastated by hunting and overgrazing. He established the U.S. Forest Service and signed into law 150 national forests, 51 bird reserves, 4 game preserves, 5 national parks, and established 18 national monuments. Theodore Roosevelt National Park was created in 1947 to commemorate his efforts.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. The "Granddaddy Trail" Hike the Maah Daah Hey Trail, which means "grandfather" or "been here long." It's one of the most popular and well-maintained trails in western North Dakota.
  2. Views from above Get an encompassing 360-degree view of the badlands from Buck Hill.
  3. History lessons from the frontier View Maltese Cross Ranch Cabin, which once belonged to Theodore Roosevelt.
  4. Badlands Broadway Come experience a theatrical tribute to the history and personalities that make up the Old West at the Medora Musical, located in the town, not the park.
  5. Great clubbing—golf, that is Perfect your swing at Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora, one of America's premiere courses near the national park.
  6. Away from it all As this is not a heavily visited park, you'll likely encounter more wild horses than people here.

When To Go

When to Go

The park is open year-round, but North Dakota winters can be brutal—very cold and windy. Portions of some roads close during winter months,...

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