It’s the Grand Canyon of the North, only half as deep and a lot more complex. It has great opportunities for take-your-breath-away hiking, biking and scenic viewing.
The 70,000-acre Theodore Roosevelt National Park and its rugged topography honor Theodore Roosevelt, who ranched in the Badlands and later established the national park system. As 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt said, “I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.” He came to the Badlands in 1883 to hunt and established the Maltese Cross and Elkhorn open-range cattle ranches.
Dedicated in 1947, the park is separated into two large units. The south unit was shaped by wind, fire and the meandering Little Missouri River. The north unit is heavily forested in places and has steeper buttes. Both offer outstanding wildlife viewing: Buffalo, deer, antelope, coyote, prairie dogs, wild horses and bald eagles are a few of the many species that make this park home.
The romantic history of the Wild West lives on in historic Medora, now a frontier tourist town. Founded by a French aristocrat, Medora boasts a 26-room chateau overlooking a walkable town of shops, cafes, museums and an amphitheater with evening performances of the Medora Musical. Barely 30 minutes away in Dickinson is the Dakota Dinosaur Museum, with 10 full-scale dinosaurs, a lab and geology exhibit.
Whether you are interested in participating in a horseback trail ride, good old-fashioned cattle branding or listening to the coyotes howl while you sit in a hot tub, North Dakota offers ranch vacations that fit the bill. The western part of the state offers an assortment of working ranch vacations where you can work as much, or as little, as you like.
Near Amidon, the Logging Camp Ranch boasts a retreat center and hand-built cabins nestled in a ponderosa pine forest on top of Badlands buttes. Logging Camp Ranch is a working ranch with herds of cattle, bison and quarter horses.
Near Medora is Eagle Ridge Lodge, a genteel, upscale western lodge with a magnificent panoramic view of the Badlands. The lodge features a two-story great room with a wall of windows to take in the sunrise, cozy guestrooms with claw-foot tubs, fireplaces and handmade quilts.
Take a vacation to Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch, Medora, and ride the famous Maah Daah Hey Trail and the Buffalo Gap Trail with experienced guides and outfitters. Get up close and personal with some of the most spectacular scenery in the West!
Missouri River Lodge is a bed and breakfast located on a 2,000-acre ranch near Stanton. The lodge is nestled in a river bottom valley along the Missouri River, surrounded by Badland's formations near Lewis and Clark's winter fort and Sakakawea's home village. Enjoy fishing, boating, or sunning on a private sandy beach.
Headquartered in Little Missouri State Park near Killdeer, 6,000 acres of rugged Badlands are waiting to be explored at Badlands Trail Rides and Eastview Campground. This western adventure treats guests to a guided horseback trail ride through the spectacular scenery of the North Dakota Badlands.
Rodeos are cowboy celebrations of what they do best: ride, rope and race. Watch women barrel race on horses that turn on a dime. Watch men ride bucking broncos and bulls. For a schedule, see the North Dakota Travel Guide or the North Dakota Tourism Division’s events page.