Sunday, January 25, 2015

Best sites to see at Theodore Roosevelt NP

Feral horses fighting in Theodore Roosevelt National
Park. Photo courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt NPS.
Among the best ways to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s top sights is via a day hike. Just three short trails will allow you to enjoy each of the park’s highlights – Theodore Roosevelt’s historic cabin, classic Western wildlife, and a badlands.

Theodore Roosevelt’s historic cabin
The former president used to hunt bison in this area beginning in 1883 when this was just the Dakota Territory. His Maltese Cross Cabin is open for exploring in a built-up area, but an unnamed trail runs from north of the cabin the banks of the Little Missouri River from about a half-mile round trip walk.

Classic Western wildlife
American bison, Bighorn sheep, coyotes, eagles, elk, feral horses, prairie dogs, pronghorn and more abound in the national park. Where there are prairie dogs, you stand a good chance of seeing many other animals as well. The Buckhorn Trail in the North Unit hads past a Prairie Dog Town on a 1.5-miles trail. Bison often use the park’s hiking trails, so if you should come across North America’s largest land mammal, give them a wide berth.

Erosion has left white-, orange- and brown-striped buttes rising out of verdant green forests and prairie grass. A great way to enjoy and explore the badlands is the South Unit’s Ridgeline Trail, which runs 0.6 miles with some steep grades.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks guidebook.