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How Many Days Do You Need To See Theodore Roosevelt National Park

How Many Days Do You Need To See Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Grasslands and badlands make up the magnificent nature of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Hiking routes run through the bright bentonite hills, and beautiful highways lead travelers to multiple breathtaking views. Bison, wild horses, and elk wander the area.

You can tour the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in only three days. All you need to do is follow an itinerary that can plan your schedule and ensure you don’t miss anything during this experience.

Keep reading below for more information.

How Many Days Should I Spend in Theodore Roosevelt Park?

To really enjoy this amazing park, you just need three days. Starting with the South Unit, you can make sure to get the maximum fun and scenic views. 

We developed the best schedule to help you appreciate Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s magnificence for the goal of directing our readers.

Three-Day Itinerary for Theodore Roosevelt Park

Following is a 3-day itinerary for Theodore Roosevelt National Park:

Day 1: South Unit

Day 1 of the trip is packed with many treks and breathtaking vistas, so put on your hiking boots and have your binoculars prepared. As you go around the Scent Loop Drive in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, be sure to stop at the trails and vistas mentioned below. 

There are warnings posted all over the place to stay away from wildlife. As you navigate the paths, be prepared to encounter several creatures. This is also because you are absolutely on your own when it comes to animals.

  • South Unit Visitor Center – 1 Hour
  • 36 Mile Scenic Loop Drive and Trails – 6 Hours, including driving
  • Boicourt Overlook – 1 hour
  • Old East Entrance Station – 1 hour
  • Badlands Overlook – 1 hour
  • Buck Hill Trail – 1 hour
  • Cole Vein Trail – 1 hour
  • Skyline Vista Trail – ½ Hour

Visitor Center for the South Unit 

This is an excellent place to obtain information about the park and local preservation efforts. There is a movie viewing area where you can learn about the park’s history and Roosevelt’s visits. 

It also describes the fauna you may anticipate seeing, making you eager for the day to come. The Maltese Cross Cabin and a cute small gift shop are also present. Make sure to appreciate the cabin’s architecture.

Boicourt Overlook 

You must travel a short stretch of land to reach an amazing vista. You may notice bison rushing down the hill as you continue your journey. When you get to the viewpoint, there is a sizable valley with a Jurassic Park-like atmosphere.

Hill Buck Trail 

More views of the area are available via this short path.

Cole Vein Trail 

This path has evidence of the land being on fire for years at one time, a wonderful reminder of nature’s strength. Even though it is one of the more difficult trails, it is still doable with the right footwear and water supplies. 

Keep an eye on where you are going because the trail signs on this one aren’t really apparent.  

Old East Entrance Station 

This is a flat trail that is surrounded by thousands of prairie dogs. As you pass, they humorously holler at you. Some are bold and don’t run, but the majority flee as you approach. The trail’s ancient entry to Roosevelt National Park sits near its end, providing another interesting historical feature to discover.

Badlands Overlook 

Another hike that is really worthwhile for the views, thanks to the really vivid hues!

Vista Skyline Trail 

This short route offers a lovely sight of Medora and is a great spot to catch the sunset. The hues complement the Badlands’ environment beautifully.

Day 2: Town of Medora’s Painted Canyon Visitors Center, North Unit

  • Painted Canyon Visitors Center – 1 hour
  • North Unit ­– 4 hours, including driving
  • Town of Medora – 1 Hour

Painted Canyon Visitor Center 

Although the name gives it away, this Badlands panorama may be seen directly from the tourist center’s roof, or you can walk the paths to get a bit closer. 

Given that you’ve got a fun-filled day before you and since the trails here are not particularly impressive, it is advised that you stick to the overlook and skip the hiking. This visitor center is a handy stop on your journey to the North Unit because it is located just off Interstate 94.

North Unit 

As soon as you approach the Visitors Center in the North Unit, the park’s size will feel smaller. The trails in this park area are longer, but whenever you have the opportunity, start working your way down a few of them.

Find various “caves” along the paths and enjoy investigating the crevices. Additionally, there are cannonball concretions, an interesting geological structure, in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit.

A lovely viewpoint at the conclusion of the beautiful drive is a fantastic spot to have lunch. 

For more information about trails at the North Unit, watch this video below:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit


After a strenuous day of trekking, take a stroll around Medora as you make your way back to the South Unit to set up camp. Although it has a charming tourist vibe, you’ll appreciate how the residents genuinely care about their community. 

Make sure not to miss the musical, the taffy store, or any of the other hidden treasures in the town’s commercial area.

Day 3: Petrified Forest, Elkhorn Ranch Unit

  • Petrified Forest Loop Trail – 3 Hours

Petrified Forest Loop Trail 

If you’re in the region and want to experience a wild trail, don’t skip this opportunity! Although the path is a 10.2-mile circle, traveling the additional 3 miles to the South Petrified Forest will give you the full experience. 

The track is a little overgrown in certain places, and you must be careful around all the bison “waste.” They seem to utilize the trail more regularly than people do! This is a pretty cool way to see petrified wood if you’ve never seen it up close.


We hope that this article has been helpful to you as you prepare to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This park is a lovely piece of nature to us, and you’ll enjoy visiting it, even if for just over a span of 3 days.