Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit)

Medora Travel Blog

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Little Missouri River

I landed in Bismarck a little past noon.  Since I was headed to southwestern North Dakota, I picked up another hour going from Central to Mountain Standard Time.  And on top of that, the days are extra long this far north in early July.  The sun was bright at 5:30 AM (no clue hour early it actually came up), and even though official sunset was 9 PM, it was still fairly light at 10 PM because it takes the sun forever to set in this area.  So that meant I had a full day of hiking available.  After stopping on my way to check into my hotel in Dickinson, I kept heading west to Medora and the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt Nation Park.

bison
  This park has two almost equal sized units that are about 80 miles apart.  This park is very similar to Badlands National Park in South Dakota, which I went to a couple of years ago.  The South Unit has a scenic looping road.  I drove this road stopping at every overlook and hiked at most of the short hikes including Wind Canyon and Buck Hill.  On my way down from Wind Canyon, I was almost running from the momentum of gravity when I had to come to a sudden stop because of a rattlesnake sitting in the trail path.  I backed up and it quickly slithered into the grass rattling away.  After that I was nervous every time I walked on a trail that was overgrown to the point where you couldn't clearly see the ground.  It didn't help that there was some kind of insects (maybe crickets) that were making noises very similar to the rattle of a rattlesnake.

As I continued the loop, I came upon a loan bison standing in front of a badlands slough.  It was the only one I saw in the South Unit, but I saw many the next day in the North Unit.  There were plenty of prairie dogs in the South Unit though.  And I saw wild horses on more than one occasion.   

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Little Missouri River
Little Missouri River
bison
bison
Wind Canyon trail
Wind Canyon trail
Wind Canyon
Wind Canyon
Wind Canyon
Wind Canyon
Little Missouri River
Little Missouri River
Little Missouri River
Little Missouri River
Little Missouri River
Little Missouri River
bison
bison
bison
bison
bison
bison
bison
bison
prairie dog
prairie dog
Chimney Park
Chimney Park
Chimney Park
Chimney Park
Medora
photo by: mrgishi