"I have always said I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota." When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territories to hunt bison in 1883, he was nothing more than a skinny, young, spectacled guy from New York. After falling in love with the area, he took up cattle ranching, and it was here that his zest for life and true appreciation for the American soil began. Visit the national park dedicated to one of our most beloved leaders and get inspired like the 26th President.
Here are 3 ways to get the most out of your visit to North Dakota’s #1 natural attraction.
View the Badlands from Painted Canyon Visitor Center
One of South Dakota’s main draws, the Badlands are a picturesque flat desert landscape broken out by petrified wood and rock formations, but you don’t even have to cross the state border to get a great look at them. Adjacent to the Visitor’s Center are hiking trails, roaming wild buffalo and canyon views if you don’t drive right by this little highway pull-off.
See adorable Prairie Dog Towns
Herbivorous burrowing creatures, prairie dogs can be found throughout Theodore Roosevelt National Park. They communicate via a series of barks or calls, and though technically rodents, they’re much cuter than their rat relatives and intriguing to watch. Social animals self-organized into towns, the little families care and lookout for one another.
Drive the Scenic Byway or the Scenic Loop
The 14-mile scenic byway provides even more colorful views of the Badlands, Cannonball Concretions Pullouts, and the Little Missouri River and is one of the last remnants of wilderness in the Northern Great Plains. There’s plenty of opportunity to spot wildlife grazing along the gulches and trails, but for an even longer road trip, the 36-mile scenic loop includes pull offs and stops at some of the park’s best historical and natural sites.