If you wish to explore some of the wilderness the park has to offer, you'll need a free backcountry permit from the Medora or North Unit visitor center to do any overnight camping. You can also explore on horseback. If you bring a horse, you must camp either in the backcountry or at the Roundup Horse campsite (by reservation only) in the South Unit. You can also board your horse at the Peaceful Valley Ranch. Your stay in the backcountry is limited to 14 consecutive days.
You cannot have a campfire in the backcountry, so you must bring a self-contained camp stove. You must pack out what you pack in (no burying of trash). The park requires that those with horses bring certified weed-free hay. Groups entering the backcountry are limited to 10 persons (or eight persons with eight horses). Finally, don't drink the water in the backcountry; there are no safe, approved water sources here.
The mother of all trails in the area is the Maah Daah Hey Trail, completed in summer 1999. The Maah Daah Hey is a 97-mile hiking, horseback, and mountain-biking trail that traverses the scenic and rugged North Dakota badlands. The trail passes through the Little Missouri National Grasslands, as well as state and private land, as it connects the North and South units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The north end of the trail begins at the U.S. Forest Service CCC Campground in McKenzie County, located 20 miles south of Watford City off Hwy. 85. The trail winds its way to its southern terminus at Sully Creek State Park in Billings County, south of Medora. Six fenced overnight campsites with hitching posts, vault toilets, and campfire rings have been constructed along the trail. Bicycles are not permitted on sections of the trail within the park but bypass routes are available.
For more information about this trail, contact the U.S. Forest Service, Medora Ranger District, 99 23rd Ave. W., Dickinson, ND 58601 (tel. 701/227-7800; www.fs.fed.us/r1/dakotaprairie); or the McKenzie Ranger District office, at 1901 S. Main St., Watford City, ND 58854 (tel. 701/842-2393).
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.