Visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park and North Dakota Historic Sites
Take a scenic drive or hike and get back to nature at these North Dakota treasures.
Former President Theodore Roosevelt was big on conservation, and 100 years ago his efforts to preserve some of the nation's natural beauty for all time led to the formation of the National Park Service. See what Roosevelt made all of the fuss about by visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The park within the North Dakota Badlands consists of the North, South and Elkhorn Ranch units. In fact, make time to visit all of the state's national historic sites:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park offer majestic Badlands scenery, abundant wildlife and all kinds of adventures of your own making.
During his administration, President Theodore Roosevelt founded the United States Forest Service, signed the National Monuments Act and established the first federal game preserve. His conservation efforts led to the founding of the National Park Service, established to preserve and protect unspoiled places like his beloved North Dakota Badlands, now known as Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
The park has three units, the North Unit, the South Unit (both distinctly different) and the Elkhorn Ranch.
The South Unit is on I-94 in western North Dakota. Here the Badlands have been shaped by millions of years of wind, rain, erosion, fire and the meandering Little Missouri River. The area was described in 1864 by Gen. Alfred Sully as "hell with the fires out." The main access to the South Unit is through the historic town of Medora.
The North Unit, accessible from U.S. Highway 85 south of Watford City, has deeper gorges and is heavily forested in places. The beauty and allure of the North Unit draws visitors year-round for sweeping vistas of this designated wilderness.
Today, visitors can view a natural setting much like the one that greeted Roosevelt over a century ago. The 36-mile scenic loop drive in the South Unit and the 14-mile drive in the North Unit provide easy access to popular vistas and wildlife viewing. You will always see buffalo herds and prairie dog towns, and you may catch a glimpse of wild horses, mule deer, elk and maybe even at coyote.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open year-round. For more information on Theodore Roosevelt National Park, call 701-623-4466.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site was established as a National Park Service (NPS) site in 1974. This is the only NPS site that preserves and protects the Northern Plains Indian Heritage. American Indians occupied this area for more than 11,000 years. There are the remains of three Hidatsa village sites within the park boundaries. The Big Hidatsa site has 110 depressions, the Sakakawea (Awatixa) site has 60 depressions and the Lower Hidatsa site has 40 depressions. This was once a thriving civilization situated along the Knife River. Sakakawea lived at the Awatixa site when she met Lewis and Clark at Fort Mandan. A state-of-the-art museum dedicated to preserving the culture of the Hidatsa, Mandan and Arikara tribes is located at the visitor center. A 15-minute video about village life can be viewed in the visitor center theater. A full-scale reconstructions of a Hidatsa earthlodge features authentic furnishings. Programs in the earthlodge are conducted during the summer months. Call 701-745-3300 for more information.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site was the largest fur trading post on the upper Missouri River from 1828-1867. Trading headquarters with American Indians. Reconstructed Bourgeois House contains museum exhibits. Replica trade goods are available for purchase in the reconstructed Indian Trade House. Call 701-572-9083 for more information.
International Peace Garden
The International Peace Garden is a 2,339-acre botanical garden commemorating peace between the United States and Canada along the world's longest unfortified border. It blooms annually with more than 150,000 varieties of flowers and showcases the Peace Chapel. It is also home to the International Music Camp, Friday night concerts in June and July, and interpretive center, floral clock and souvenir shop. RV-friendly campground. Call 888-432-6733 for more information.