Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Unit)

Watford City Travel Blog

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River Bend Overlook

On the second day I visited the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I have a feeling that portion is not visited as often as the South Unit simply because it is 80 some miles north and not off of a major highway like the South Unit.  Though it really doesn't take that long to get there and it is worth it.  While the scenic road is a "there and back" instead of a loop and is not as long as the South Unit's, there are plenty of great views to take in, especially the River Bend Overlook.  While I only saw one bison at the South Unit, I saw many large groups here often along the side of the road or even crossing the road.  I even saw calves nursing. 

I preferred the hiking in this part of the park as well.

bison right out my passenger side window
  The Caprock Coulee trail (the whole 4 1/2 miles loop, not just the nature trail) had a lot of interesting and changing scenery and even made it's way by the River Bend Overlook and up on top of the Badland type sloping formations.  Having seen all of the bison along the side of the road and knowing that this trail would eventually cross the road, I felt like there was a good chance that I was going to have a close encounter with them (too close at that).  Sure enough as I was coming up over a rolling hill, there was a huge bull bison's head right in front of me.  The grass was so tall that he was almost hidden lying down except for his massive dark brown head.  He was looking right at me, but I was not interesting enough for him to get up.  There were six of them in front of me, all male.  I was lucky that none were mothers protecting their calves.  I continued down the trail backwards facing them the whole time.  After all there were signs in the park that said "Buffalo are dangerous, stay in your car".  Speaking of which, while I was skirting this group of bison, cars were lined up along the road taking pictures of them.  I'm sure they had no idea I was walking a trail since the grass was so tall.  The people in the cars must have thought I was some crazy person trying to approach the bison.  One woman slowed down to offer me a ride as I approached the road.

 

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River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
bison right out my passenger side …
bison right out my passenger side…
bison
bison
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
River Bend Overlook
bison
bison
bug splatter
bug splatter
bison crossing
bison crossing
bison crossing
bison crossing
bison hitch hiker
bison hitch hiker
bison
bison
young mule deer tracks
young mule deer tracks
cacti
cacti
ate lunch on a bench on the Caproc…
ate lunch on a bench on the Capro…
walked right up on this bison bull…
walked right up on this bison bul…
bison
bison
Caprock Coulee Trail
Caprock Coulee Trail
Caprock Coulee Trail
Caprock Coulee Trail
Watford City
photo by: mrgishi