There are a variety of historic attractions, both in the national park and nearby.
A museum in the South Unit Visitor Center features personal items that belonged to Theodore Roosevelt, ranching artifacts, and natural history displays. Tours are conducted (free, about 20 min.) through the Maltese Cross Cabin from mid-June through Labor Day; you can take a self-guided tour during the rest of the year.
At the Elkhorn Ranch site, where Roosevelt started his second cattle ranch in the area, no buildings remain (save the foundation stones from the main ranch house). To get there, ask a ranger in the Visitor Center for detailed directions.
Chateau De Mores State Historic Site (tel. 701/623-4355; www.state.nd.us/hist; click on "Historic Sites," then "Chateau De Mores"), near the town of Medora, is a 128-acre site that contains the Chateau de Mores, Chimney Park, and De Mores Memorial Park. The town of Medora was built by the Marquis de Mores, an entrepreneurial French nobleman, on the Northern Pacific Line and named for his American wife. The Chateau de Mores, a 26-room rustic summer home built in 1883, contains many of its original furnishings. The ruins of the Marquis's meat-packing plant, found in Chimney Park, recall his ambitious plans to revolutionize the meat-packing industry. A young Theodore Roosevelt was a business acquaintance of the Marquis. Admission costs $7 adults, $3 kids 6 to 15, under 6 free; group tour rates are available. Guided tours of the château are offered from May 16 to September 15, hours 8:30am to 6:15pm Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), and winter hours 9am to 5pm.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, consisting of three villages along the Knife River in North Dakota, was inhabited by the Hidatsa, Mandan, and later the Arikara from the early 1500s to 1860. Located a half mile north of Stanton, North Dakota (via C.R. 37), it offers insights into the life of the Northern Plains Indians. The site is open from 8am to 6pm Central Daylight Time (CDT) daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8am to 4:30pm daily the rest of the year. Admission is free. The exhibits and 15-minute orientation video depict life in the villages before and after Euro-American contact. Earthlodge tours are conducted daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. The annual Northern Plains Indian Culture Fest is held the last full weekend in July.
Special attention was focused on Knife River Indian Villages due to the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. This area is believed to have been the home of Sacagawea, her new baby, and her husband before they joined the Corps of Discovery for the arduous trip west.
Various short trails lead to the three village sites. Other trails meander through prairie and woodland ecosystems. Check at the visitor center for trail hours. Some trails are wheelchair accessible. For information, contact the Knife River Indian Villages NHS, P.O. Box 9, Stanton, ND 58571 (tel. 701/745-3300; www.nps.gov/knri).
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site preserves the restored Fort Union, which was, for nearly 4 decades in the 19th century, a bastion of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, which dominated the fur trade in the region of modern-day North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan. The focal point of the site is Fort Union's Indian Trade House. Here goods were traded between the fur company representatives and Assiniboines, Crows, Crees, and Blackfeet. Also called the Bourgeois House (or Manager's House), this facility is now the visitor center and bookstore. The National Park Service and the Fort Union Association have meticulously restored and refurnished the Trade House to its appearance in 1851. It's about 2 hours north of Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Williston, North Dakota. The Bourgeois House Visitor Center is open from 8am to 8pm Central Time Memorial Day through Labor Day, from 9am to 5:30pm the remainder of the year. The Indian Trade House is open from 10am to 5:45pm daily during the summer only. Ranger tours are available daily during the summer, with self-guided tours the remainder of the year. Fort Union is in two time zones; you park in Montana (Mountain Standard Time) and walk into North Dakota (Central Standard Time).
Fort Union Trading Post was a focus of attention during the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. Lewis and Clark stopped at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers in 1805, near the location where Fort Union was constructed 23 years later.
For scheduled dates of special programs, or for more information, contact the Superintendent, Fort Union Trading Post NHS, 15550 Hwy. 1804, Williston, ND 58801 (tel. 701/572-9083; www.nps.gov/fous).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.