Parker Scott is an outdoor enthusiast who shares his favorite North Dakota adventures.
The Deuce: There are so many amazing vistas and features on both The Deuce and the Maah Daah Hey Trail, but the spot pictured above has held up as my favorite over the years. It is the combination of the scenery and how the trail holds itself up against the ridge that kind of makes for a sensory overload. Linking the Maah Daah Hey Trail and The Deuce together, you come up with 150 miles of continuous single track through some absolutely amazing terrain. The Maah Daah Hey features more of the "traditional" Badlands, whereas you almost find the Badlands turn into a mini Black Hills south of Medora on The Deuce.
Cross Ranch State Park: Cross Ranch is nearly as much fun in the winter as it is in the summer. I don't know if I have a more favorable spot for a trail run in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter. As far as terrain goes, you get to choose from running/skiing among the largest cottonwood trees in the state or along the banks of the Missouri River. The odds are in your favor to have an enjoyable day at Cross Ranch.
Badlands Sunrise: Donny Fallgatter was a childhood friend of mine (he took this backcountry camping photo in Theodore Roosevelt National Park), but we hadn't had more than the occasional “hello” since we were 10 years old. Through the magic of the internet, we connected and embarked on a camping trip the park. TRNP is a state treasure, and you can see much of the park from the roads that wind through it. But I encourage everyone to get out of the car and on the trail as there are so many unique places just a mile or two from the trailhead.
Burnt Creek: If you have a kayak or canoe, the transition from winter to spring offers the chance to take advantage of the melting runoff, which fills the creeks and streams around the state. Drainages that have very low water levels most of the year turn into amusement-park-like rides. On this day, Burnt Creek was ripping and I didn't negotiate a rapid very well, ending up in some very cold March water (you need to always be thinking safety when on these waterways - personal flotation device, helmet, change of clothes, food, water, etc.).
Huff Hills: Snowfall this winter allowed Huff Hills to enjoy a banner year, making for some super fun days south of Mandan. Even without huge snow totals, you can always count on the crew at Huff to bring riders/skiers quality snow every year. Huff provides both a great family atmosphere and the opportunity for people of all ages to learn the ins and outs of skiing/riding without having to make a trip out of state. I didn't strap into a snowboard until I was 28 years old, but I cut my teeth at Huff and give it all the credit in the world for shaping me into the rider I am today.