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Neighboring Parks

Find Solitude in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

This less-visited national park is located in the badlands of western North Dakota.

The park is known for amazing wildlife like bison and elk, 95 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, water sports, and for inspiring a love of nature in the nation’s 26th president. President Roosevelt lived and ranched in the area in the 1880s.

Maltese Cross Cabin in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Maltese Cross Cabin in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photo: Adobe Stock

It’s also known for its wild horses that were introduced to North America by the Spanish in the 1500s and to the Medora, N.D. area, where the park is located, in the mid-1800s.

Wild Horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Wild Horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photo: Dollar

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is comprised of three areas: South Unit, North Unit and Elkhorn Ranch Unit.

South Unit

The South Unit entrance is in Medora North Dakota 27 miles east of the Montana state line. The Painted Canyon Visitor Center is located 7 miles east of Medora on I-94 at Exit 32.

A float trip down the Little Missouri River is an ideal way to experience the beauty and solitude of the North Dakota badlands. It takes about 5 days to canoe the 107.5 miles from the bridge at Medora to the Hwy 85 bridge near the North Unit. Or do a short 3-mile trip from Sully Creek State Park to the Medora bridge. (The river water levels are variable. Please contact the park at 701-623-4730 ext 3417 for up-to-date information before launching on the river.)

The Little Missouri River Valley in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The Little Missouri River Valley in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photo: Dollar
North Dakota Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
North Dakota Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photo: Dollar

North Unit

The North Unit entrance is along U.S. Highway 85, approximately 14 miles south of Watford City, ND and 50 miles north of Belfield, ND. The distance by road from Medora to the North Unit is approximately 70 miles. I-94 travelers can access U.S. Highway 85 at Exit 42 in Belfield, ND.

Springtime in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Springtime in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photo: NPS/Kathy Turner

Elkhorn Ranch Unit

The Elkhorn Ranch Unit is located 35 miles north of Medora. Access to the site is via gravel roads. Approaching the site from the east requires fording the Little Missouri River. Ask a ranger at one of the park visitor centers for information on traveling to the Elkhorn Ranch Site before you attempt the journey.

The grand view of Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The grand view of Elkhorn Ranch Unit Photo: NPS/Laura Thomas

For More Information:

National Park Service
www.nps.gov/thro/

Gateway City: Medora, North Dakota
(701) 623-4830
medorand.com