4 Days in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

In western North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a unique and breathtaking destination. Named after the 26th President of the United States, who was instrumental in creating the national park system, this park spans over 70,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Visitors can explore the park’s rugged badlands, hike scenic trails, and observe various wildlife such as bison, elk, and prairie dogs. With its diverse landscape and rich history, Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty of the American West. The views and the Little Missouri River, even with its low water levels, were amazing.

It was a 225-mile, 4-and-a-half-hour drive to Buffalo Gap Resort, North Dakota where we stayed. We couldn’t get reservations in the park or anywhere closer to Medora. I wouldn’t call it much of a resort with only 3 or 4 other RV’s staying there the 5 nights we were there. It was 2 miles off of Interstate 94 on a dirt road and 9 miles from Medora and the entrance to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. However, it served its purpose as we were only there at night to eat and sleep. This was a destination on a long road trip. To see the start of this trip click , here. Click here for the Park camping reservations

sunrise lighting up the golden grass and the rolling hills in Theodore Roosevelt National Park South unit

Buffalo Gap Resort

trailers and 5th wheels at the rv park at Buffalo Gap Resort

Medora is a charming tourist town, bustling with shops, motels, and restaurants. On our way in and out of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we made sure to stop for some shopping. We had a fantastic meal at The Little Missouri Saloon and Dining Room on their balcony. During our three-day stay in the South Unit, we ventured out on East River Road, which is dotted with various overlooks and pullouts. Although it’s supposed to be a loop road, we, unfortunately, hit a roadblock for construction just a few miles before rejoining East River Road.

Group of wild horses on a grassy hillside in Theodore Roosevelt National Park South unit
Eroded landscape with orange and tan colors and a cloudy blue sky in Theodore Roosevelt National Park South unit

Maltese Cross Cabin

log cabin set in trees with a cloudy blue sky in Theodore Roosevelt National Park South unit

In Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we saw bison herds and wild horses. We hiked the Ekblom Trail, spotting bison near the river. We accessed the trail from Peaceful Valley Road.

Bison in the Little Missouri with his reflection in the riverin Theodore Roosevelt National Park South unit
hills and the clouds reflected in the river

At the Wind Canyon Overlook, we were treated to an awe-inspiring view of the river, which we absolutely loved. We made sure to visit this spot twice – once during the day and once in the evening for a breathtaking sunset view. During our hikes, we encountered a lot of grasshoppers. It was quite amusing to see them take off in a frenzy with each step we took on the path.

Wind Canyon Overlook with the little Missouri River winding through the valley

The North Unit

One day, we decided to make the 80-mile drive up to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We took the Scenic Loop Drive all the way to the end, where we were treated to some breathtaking views. Despite the name, the drive ended at an overlook, but we didn’t mind since the scenery was so stunning. Of all the overlooks we saw, our favorite was The Riverbend Overlook. We also enjoyed a short hike on the Caprock Coulee Trail, which is a long trail but we only did a section of it. We had a relaxing lunch at the picnic area while observing a herd of bison strolling through the area.

little Missouri River winding through the hills and trees
surreal eroded landscape

Conclusion

Theodore Roosevelt National Park: a must-visit for nature lovers, history buffs, and anyone craving the beauty of the American West. Whether you spend a few days or a few weeks in the park Its enjoyable. You’re sure to be captivated by the stunning landscapes and the rich history of this unique region.

It was a 3-day, 580-mile drive with overnight stops in Jamestown North Dakota, and Bemidji MN to The Pines at Lake Kabatogama and Voyageurs National Park

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

We have six grandchildren, with a fifteen-year age gap between the oldest and youngest. To my surprise, I have found that they all enjoy receiving postcards from our travels. A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the app Snap Shot Postcard, which allows you to create personalized postcards from your photos and mail them to your family and friends without needing stamps. They have been a big hit. We don’t do a lot of shopping for souvenirs but I couldn’t resist getting a Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Bear.

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