Remote, few visitors especially in the North Unit
A long way for visitors to go in order to enjoy limited activities
It is always good to preserve unique landscapes for future generations
Roosevelt National Park has wild horses that can occasionally be seen along the roads. The park attempts to keep 70 to 110 to show visitors the historical character of the land when Roosevelt lived here. After being introduced to North America by Europeans in the 16h Century, escaped feral horses roamed free across the plains, often with herds...more
At one point the Little Missouri River located here flowed north. Broad and gentle warping of the terrain sometime before the Ice Age caused the rivers east of here to erode more quickly than the Little Missouri. The rivers then cut into this valley altering the course of the river. Now the Little Missouri flows east and joins the Missouri River 50...more
Here you can see some scattered boulders called “erratics” because they are out of place. These boulders were ripped from layers of bedrock 400 miles north in Canada and brought here by a great glacier that covered almost all of North America north and east of here. When the glacier melted these boulders were left in place. The current course of...more
Grasslands like this have historically attracted man and cattle. A vast grassland like this caused cattlemen to bring herds of cattle to the badlands. Overgrazing damaged these grasslands and brought a quick decline to then open range cattle industry. Protection today has the adverse affects of this abuse and the grasslands now support native...more
This is a part of the Long X Cattle Trail. The trail started in Texas then went by the area where the current town of New England is, west of Dickinson and the Killdeer Mountains. It then crossed the Little Missouri River and led by the Squaw Creek Valley to the Long X Ranch 3 miles north of here.more
This terrain consists of a series of slump blocks, that is huge sections of bluff that slid intact to the valley floor. This is not uncommon in the badlands where the steep cliffs cannot support the top-heavy formations. Continued erosion has moved the face of the parent bluff farther away from the slump blocks. Although the blocks tend to tilt you...more
In 1884, after most of the bison living in the badlands were killed off 4000 head of longhorn cattle were driven to the badlands from Texas. The tough cattle made the walk from Texas fine and several other cattle drives were undertaken. Unfortunately, by the early 1900s most of the longhorns were gone from the badlands because of overgrazing and...more
Boots Bar and Grill was formally The Iron Horse Saloon and Restaurant. It has changed hands, but I was unable to update my photos, as it was too dark at the time. The building looks the same, however, except the outside sign has been changed. This restaurant was, and still is a local favorite. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and...more
After a long hike on the trail or canoe down the river, come into town and enjoy a nice cold treat. The Marquis de Mores Ice Cream Parlor is a pretty little place in the historic downtown area. Sit back and enjoy the ice cream which is made right in the town. The cookies & cream is fabulous. Or have a shake, malt, or sundae from the same flavors.more
We ate here both nights we were staying at the Comfort Inn. They had a variety of vegetables and salads and fresh fruit on their food bar. We paid $6.99 for the food bar. This did not include drinks, but it did include some meat, and dessert and a cup of coffee. We were impressed by how people there seemed genuinely interested in us and wanted to...more
We rented a small Nissan Vespa for our trip from Saskatchewan to South Dakota, and it served our needs quite well - other than the tendency to require quite a few stops for fuel. That was due to a combination of having a relatively small fuel tank and not knowing whether there would be any open gasoline stations in the small and sparse communities spread out across the Great Plains as we drove south.
The car did not have cruise control for the many long stretches of highway with little traffic but I didn't seem to have too much trouble holding it at a steady 110-kph (except when it encountered a serious climb!). It managed to average 12.7 km/litre or 36 mpg (30 miles per US gallon) for our cumulative driving distance of 2300-km. Rental cost from the National car rental agency in Regina, Saskatchewan was C$69 (US$65) for each of the four days we used it, including the cost of full insurance coverage. This view shows Sue standing beside our Vespa as we pulled over to the side of Highway 85 where we first crossed into the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt NP.
If you are visiting the South Unit, and are not staying within the park, you will probably be staying in the very small town of Medora. This town is, mainly composed of tourist shops, a few restaurants, and bars. In the off-season of fall and winter, however, most of these are closed.
There is no real grocery store in the town, so if you are camping, come well supplied. The Medora Convenience and Liquor store is about your only option, and this is a very small business. You will find drinks, a few snack foods, a small selection of produce, some dairy products, and a few other groceries, along with some camping supplies. If you are planning on spending a number of days in the park, do not expect to use this store to stock up on all your food needs.
There are also a number of gift stores and specialty shops in Medora, that carry various types of clothing, crafts, artwork, leather items, handmade candies, and other items.
The terms bison and buffalo are interchangeable. I grew up using the term buffalo and to this day if I see one of these creatures I'll say: "Hey. Look at that buffalo." Bison, however, is the correct scientific name.
The number of buffalo in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is roughly 400 at any given time. The buffalo are thriving in their natural habitat and cows will give birth to new young each year. The park service has decided that it will not allow the population of the herds to grow unchecked and therefore several buffalo are culled from the herd each year to sustain the total numbers at approximately 400.
Please obey all warning signs, they are there to protect you and to preserve the park for future visitors. Warnings: Animals: All animals in the park are wild. Enjoy them from a distance. Do not feed them, eating items outside their usual diet may make them sick or even kill them. Keep an eye out for animals including rattlesnakes as you tour the...more
If you are staying in one of the main RV and tent established campgrounds, be prepared to obey the following rules.1) It is illegal to dump any gray or black water on the ground. If you have a camper that drains to the aground, you must have a pail or other container to catch this water. You cannot wash your dishes in the bathrooms or at the...more
1) All people wishing to camp overnight in the backcountry MUST register and obtain a free backcountry use permit. This is not only for the park’s information, but also for your safety. If you follow your trip plan, this will provide information that will help rangers find you if there is an emergency, or you become lost. You may register for up to...more
This suggested walk, found in the South Unit, isn’t out of the way, especially if you are camping in Cottonwood Campground. The walk is off the beaten path in that there are no actual trails or tourist directions for this outing. To experience some of the varied vegetation, and different environments within the park, take a stroll from the...more
The self-guided portion of this trail is ¾ mile each way. You can stop there or continue on another 2 ½ miles to the overlook shelter where your friends can meet you with a car. I walked about ½ mile past the end of the self-guided portion then retraced my steps. Good walking shoes, water, sunscreen, a hat, maybe a snack.more
The Little Missouri river cuts through the park, as it winds its way north (before making a sudden u-turn to become the river we know in the midwest). It is a gentle current, with no major rapids, typical of rivers east of the Rockies. You wind down the river, moving at a lethargic pace, but which gives you the chance to view wildlife and enjoy the...more
One of my outings that I really enjoyed, was my off trail hike from the Cottonwood Campground. Here I spotted a number of buffalo wallows. Bison clean their hides by rolling in the dust. This activity creates shallow, saucer like depressions, called Buffalo Wallows. These depressions may collect standing water in an otherwise dry landscape, briefly...more
I thought about driving out to the Elkhorn Ranch Site until I talked to one of the rangers. He said there is really not much to see there; just a few remains of the foundation. The road out there is also long and very rough. The road conditions were even worse than normal because they had a lot of rain recently. The Elkhorn Ranch is only for those...more
The north unit is about 50 miles north of the south unit. I took the 14 mile scenic drive. This is one way and you take the same route back. There are a number of stops along the way most with interpretive signs to highlight important aspects of the area. There are also a number of hiking trails ranging from short trails with interpretive signs to...more
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