Trail Area

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

About This Area

[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

From grasshoppers leaping through the grasses to wild prairie flowers to expansive vistas, the 70,000-acre Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a perfect landscape for toddlers learning to walk or a new mom just getting back her hiking legs.

Why we especially like Buck Hill Trail, a short, fast climb to 2,855 feet and the highest accessible point in the park, is because it’s a climb that even a 2- year-old can do. At the top of the hill, look for a grouping of boulders that kids will love climbing on.

The view to the north from the boulders at the top of the hill is out across the badlands. The main trail stops at the top of the hill, but an obvious dirt trail continues beyond the boulders, meandering up and down the rolling hill crests. This trail goes on, but for little legs, continue to about the second crest for great views and then consider turning around.

As for wildlife, expect grasshoppers, mountain bluebirds, and bison throughout the park. You also might catch a glimpse of pronghorns, elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes and feral horses. And of course, as is common in the Dakotas, North and South, there are lots of prairie dog towns throughout the area.

Water is available in the park, as are benches, but not at this trail, so plan accordingly, especially in hot months as there is absolutely no shelter from the sun. There are plenty of bench-height rocks at the top to sit on if you need to nurse or take a snack break. Benches and picnic tables are also provided in other areas of the park.

Be aware of ticks and rattlesnakes and prickly pear cactus if you do wander off trail.
Spring and fall are the best times to visit. The park stays open year-round, but the roads may close for snow and ice in winter. The summer gets rather hot and dry on the high plains.  Visit on a sunny weekend, and you may see one or two other families on the trail. The park, as a whole, is very quiet with few visitors as compared to what you normally expect in a national park.

The parking lot at the trailhead is not very large, but with so few visitors, it doesn’t need to be bigger. If you want to adventure farther in this park, here are a few suggestions: the Boicourt Trail (hold onto the kiddos because this is a ridge with dizzying vistas), the Ridgeline Nature Trail, and the Wind Canyon Trail.

Area Features

Rangers No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Nearby convenience store No
Trash Disposal No
Fee $0.00
Fee Notes

$30 per vehicle

Trail Contributor

[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

New to Houston, Texas area. Originally from California and have worked at a couple National Parks. I love to hike and now it is all about getting my two young girls out on the trail too.