Given that Theodore Roosevelt founded the National Park System, it makes sense that this North Dakota jewel would be on the wish lists of all National Park enthusiasts. Surprisingly, it does not even appear on the ten most popular national parks list.
That being said, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is definitely worth a visit. Part of the reason is that there are no crowds because it’s one of the least visited parks. Plus, there is plenty of wildlife to see and a beautiful village nearby that you can visit. Not to mention the scenic views you’ll find throughout your trip.
Keep reading below for more information.
Is Theodore Roosevelt National Park Worth It?
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is definitely worth a visit because of the reasons listed below in this section.
For more information on all the fun activities you can do during your trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, watch this video below:
Things to do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota!
There are hardly any tourists at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP).
You could encounter the same one or two families on some of the trails, but that’s all you’ll see. There won’t be any parking difficulties, trail overcrowding, obstructions to scenic views, sluggish vehicles, or any other recurrent issues.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a fantastic place to see animals. White-tailed deer, bull elk, herds of wild horses, badgers, bison, and numerous prairie dog packs may all be found in the park. Watching the prairie dogs emerge from their burrows and romp around is adorable.
You can climb out of the car and watch because the prairie dog towns are beside the road. These creatures are not timid either. If you approach, they will chirp, but ideally, you will abide by the park rules and keep a safe distance from the animals.
They leap out, wrestle with one another, and sprint through holes. You might decide to set up camp and watch the performance for a while since it is so fascinating.
The South Unit is also home to small groups of wild horses. Although locating the bison might be more difficult, you can tell they are around when you notice their enormous feces on the road.
Enjoyable and Easy Hikes
You may learn more about some of the longer backcountry treks if you drop by the visitor center. Just be aware that some may need you to cross rivers that could be knee-deep, so make sure you have proper footwear (or a change of shoes).
Many shorter hikes are available, so there’s no need to commit to a path that takes so much time. On shorter walks, you may get views from various locations and cover a variety of terrain. A few of these will include a steep section, but those are only brief stretches for the most part.
The one-mile detour from the Scenic Loop to the Buck Hill Trail is also worthwhile. Once more, it begins with a little ascent before becoming mostly level. If you’re lucky, you could spot bison or elk as you glance over the plains on one side. The Badlands may be seen beautifully from the opposite side.
Despite being a short, excellent trail, the Boicourt Overlook offers nearly identical views if you are exhausted.
The south unit’s picturesque drive is 36 miles long, while the north unit is 14 miles long. Therefore, you may enjoy the day driving the circle and getting in and out of the car at picturesque viewpoints and pullouts, even if you do not intend to go hiking.
The wonderful thing about these pullouts is that you don’t have to fight for space there! It’s amazing to take everything in and try to capture the Badlands’ splendor in a photograph since they offer such an intriguing scene.
Wide Open Spaces
Being in an area with wide open spaces where you can take a deep breath and see for miles is so great when you are coming from the congested Northeast. Driving through the Great Plains greatly makes you appreciate big, vast areas.
Medora is a really attractive village. Some western towns have a nostalgic aura but can also have a tacky or outdated vibe. You never know who you could run into when you’re leaving the neighborhood bar.
This is different from what Medora is like. It is really charming and authentic, as well as tidy, peaceful, and simply stunning. This community of 150 inhabitants has two playgrounds.
Additionally, there is a musical performance in the town plaza. There are a few adorable stores, but there are also spots to pause for coffee, ice cream, or chocolates.
There are few dining alternatives; you shouldn’t expect to discover gourmet cuisine (or dinner after 8 p.m.). But Hidden Springs Java serves quite a great muffin.
Additionally, there are few options for accommodations, so make sure to head out early or make arrangements beforehand.
You must see the Medora Musical if you’re visiting Medora or a nearby city. The Medora Musical, a variety performance that performs every night in the summer, is referred to as the “greatest show in the West.” You won’t find anything like it on Broadway or anywhere else, yet it’s a fantastic example of Americana.
The performance happens in an amphitheater. It is truly very enjoyable in a homely, traditional, and patriotic sense. You can register for the Pitchfork Steak Fondue prior to the performance. The country band from the concert will be playing as you eat your steak and choose from a variety of sides.
Important Information Before Visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Here are some things to keep in mind before you visit the park:
You should expect to pay $30 per car, but if you want to drive to more than one park this year, we advise getting America the Beautiful Pass (which can be found at the entrance gates of the majority of national parks). After paying a one-time cost of $79, you can enter all national parks, forests, monuments, and much more, including 2,000 sites, for free with this pass.
Leave No Trace
The locals in the vicinity of this national park are huge advocates of Leave No Trace, which means that when you visit the park, you must leave no trace of your visit, such as garbage.
Due to their possible environmental impact, dogs are generally not permitted on trails in national parks. The general rule is that they are permitted anywhere cars are permitted, so be careful to check the regulations before taking your furry companion along.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is magnificent, with scenic views around every corner. You should definitely add it to your bucket list if you want a mix of serene solitude combined with plenty of nature and wildlife.