Theodore Roosevelt National Park is divided into two units, about 80 miles apart. We spent a full day in the larger South Unit (next to the town of Medora, ND and I-94) and a few hours in the North Unit. Although the South Unit offers visitors a good appreciation for the park’s geology and wildlife, I recommend also going to the North Unit for a short hike and beautiful scenery if time allows (added bonus: you might literally be one of the only people in the park, as we were – a nice change from the crowds of Yellowstone!)
Do: Horseback trail ride in the park with Peaceful Valley Ranch. One of our favorite activities of the entire trip, this hour and a half trail ride – led by our great guide Laura – allowed us to relax and take in all the scenery and wildlife (wild horses, prairie dogs, bison, deer, rattlesnake) all from atop Rudy and Calvin.
Do: Petrified Forest Trail. This trail is in the Wilderness section of the South Unit of the park, accessible by driving a gravel road just west of the park and hiking in. Although the complete trail is a 10-mile loop, we chose to do a 3-mile moderately strenuous section of the North Petrified Forest Trail – a ranger recommended this section to see the most geological features.
Do: Sperati Point. Easy 2.2 mile hike through meadows of purple coneflowers (echinacea) and sagebrush to a spectacular view of the Little Missouri River and the valley below (North Unit).
Eat: For a good cup of coffee and pastries in the morning, we recommend the Marquis de Mores Ice Cream Parlor and Bake Shop (330 3rd Ave Medora ND 58645).