Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota

January 23, 2023 9:56 am34 commentsViews: 262

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota, 110-square miles of untouched rugged wilderness and wildlife, and America’s third least visited national park.

America’s National Park System

Theodore Roosevelt is considered the Father of America’s National Park System. Although his administration from 1901-09 did not found the NPS, he initiated and signed legislation that allowed Congress to designate national monuments, founded the U.S. Forest Service and created five national parks.

Teddy Roosevelt National Park provides a real western vacation experience, sure to satisfy the craving for wide open spaces and encounters with wild and woolly creatures. The park is home to a herd of about 300 bison, as well as big horn sheep, antelope, elk and mule deer. The park is also home to a herd of about 75 wild horses, making it one of the few places in the country where free roaming horses are easily observed.

It is a place of vast emptiness, which is an attraction in itself. Sitting atop Buck’s Hill, the highest point in Roosevelt National Park, the isolation has a tendency to envelop the visitor, creating a sense of oneness with the surrounding nature. Buck’s Hill is one of those places where you can literally see the last end of nowhere where it drops off into nothing, and many people find the experience liberating.

The south unit of the park has two campgrounds and nearly 90 miles of hiking and biking trails. A 36-mile paved road winds past prairie dog villages, scenic overlooks and up to Buck’s Hill, a mandatory sunset experience for anyone serious about understanding the lure of the American West.

Theodore Roosevelt In North Dakota

The man that would become the 26th president of the United States was 24 years old in 1883 when he first visited North Dakota. Over the next ten years, he spent more than 300 days here, much of it on his ranch, The Maltese Cross. Teddy Roosevelt often said he would never have become president if it had not been for his experiences in North Dakota.

Affordable Family Vacation

One of the reasons, perhaps the most significant reason, the Teddy Roosevelt National Park receives so few visitors is because of its location. North Dakota is the state least visited by tourists of any in the union, which makes the state among the cheapest in which to find lodging and buy a meal. And the majority of activities at this national park are free, such as hiking, wildlife viewing and watching magnificent sunsets.

Medora, North Dakota

The entrance to Teddy Roosevelt National Park is in the tiny town of Medora, 30 miles west of Dickinson. Medora is a town divided between independent, locally-owned businesses and those operated by the Historic Medora Foundation, a self-supporting organization that promotes tourism in the region. Both parties offer experiences of value to tourists, but it’s difficult to miss the conflict between the two.

The Teddy Roosevelt saga continues just a few hours south of the park named in his honor, although it requires being back in touch with swarms of people. Mt. Rushmore National Monument, an awe inspiring sight despite hordes of tourists, is reached by dropping in to South Dakota via Highway 85.

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