Jump to content

Little Missouri National Grassland - Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Recommended Posts

Who has ridden the badlands of North Dakota, especially in the southwest corner of the state in the Little Missouri National Grasslands, perhaps around the town of Medora or the Theodore Roosevelt National Park?  Please let me know if you know of dirtbike/adventure bike opportunity in the area of these grasslands or if you are available to ride in the area in July and August.  Thank you!  Mark N.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who has ridden the badlands of North Dakota, especially in the southwest corner of the state in the Little Missouri National Grasslands, perhaps around the town of Medora or the Theodore Roosevelt National Park?  Please let me know if you know of dirtbike/adventure bike opportunity in the area of these grasslands or if you are available to ride in the area in July and August.  Thank you!  Mark N.


I'm in Bismarck ND and have been wondering the same thing. We have a track in town and Kimball Bottoms about 10 minutes away which is pretty cool. I've also been to a few places on the Rez that was pretty cool (tho I don't think your technically supposed to ride there). I really like the landscape there in camel hump, medora, and beach. I work the oilfields over there every so often and would love to ride there.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So all the actual off road trails are "closed" and have been for 10+ years (WTF!) some people still ride them but it is illegal. But they're hundreds of miles of service and forestry roads in the badlands that are a very nice and offer incredible views of the badlands. I've found a lot of great areas to ride tho in the KillDeer and Dunn Center areas of ND. Also on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation!
If anyone rides or knows of nice trails to ride in ND let me know please! I'd love to explore more areas and meet people to ride with!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received very little feedback from the group and no usable direction as to the OHV opportunity in western North Dakota, so we went in with our normal research of an area of study (full agency transportation layers, surface ownership, quality topographic map backgrounds, reference layers) and carefully defined areas of analysis.  Here is my summation:

North Dakota is awesome for OHV recreation!  It is a matter of exploration to find the access points, but there are a fair number of Little Missouri National Grassland (LMNG) road number signs and street signs at major intersections making navigation and return relatively easy.  The major areas I found that were spectacular involve the badlands created by the Little Missouri River, say 5-10 miles approximately either side of the river.  The oil exploration and development has made it easy to travel good improved gravel roads to takeoff points into the back country.  One of the most memorable areas was the McKenzie County areas around French Creek and Cinnamon Creek off of Bennie Pier Creek Road and Hay Draw Rd.  Another way to access this area is from the east off of Red Wing Rd, but be aware you have to travel a way south to get to access points not on private land.  We based out of Sather Lake campground to survey this area, and the areas of interest are approximately 12 miles south - but there are no other nearby campgrounds.  If you equip yourself with proper maps (USFS or BLM) this area should be easy to explore.

Another real treat is to base out of Buffalo Gap west of Medora (the gateway city to Theodore Roosevelt NP) and ride the Custer Trail, a 42 mile loop on good roads with many interesting exploration routes crisscrossing the area off of this main access route.  Some of the State Trust lands can be explored and the climbs in and out of the canyons are fun and challenging.  This is for real dual-sport explorers, not race boys or those who have to hit a bar every night.  No services except in Medora and at Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch, make sure you plan fuel and water accordingly.  The local ranchers are great folks, just be sure to ask permission if you encounter anyone and obey the signs marking private land.

To wrap this up, I will say if you are there and you do not explore the back country you are missing out.  There are good reasons that Theodore Roosevelt fell in love with this place and said it shaped the character he needed to be President and develop his ethos of conservation.  You will discover them for yourself when you encounter wild cattle, hidden camps, and geological wonders like remote petrified forests and painted badlands among Pinion and juniper forests.  You will not be crowded exploring the LMNG, but that is the point right?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey thanks I think I'm going towards Medora and the LMNG this week. I don't want to just stay on gravel roads, all the back country looks like it's private land and I don't want to get shot at or arrested for trespassing but maybe I'll just go for it and home for the best

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An old boy in Montana not far from North Dakota told me "I'll tell the hands you are out there, they won't shoot at you much!"

Just don't go past posted property boundaries and you will find LOTS of places to ride.  Do you use Google Earth?  If so, give me an email address and I will give you a couple of very interesting KMZ files that will let you explore the area with the Google Earth viewer.  What this will allow you to do is see the surface ownership and the LMNG transportation network and you will know positively where the access points are.

Now, having said this, the best way to do this is for you to load Avenza PDF maps and get some background maps from the USGS at about 100K scale.  That will take some work on your part, it is however a superb way to determine where you are and plan strategic entry and exit from backcountry scenarios.  Stop by the Theodore Roosevelt NP facility in Medora and buy an LMNG map, then use Avenza in conjunction with it to locate yourself on the map.  You will have a blast.  I hope you are not traveling alone into the back country of the LMNG.  Most is benign, but it is sparsely visited and you need backup in case of mechanical difficulties or injury.  I was less scared of the North Dakota outback than some other places in the west, because like Yoda said when Luke said he was not scared, "You will be."  It is how I survive thousands of miles every year of back country roads - stay focused and alert and prepare everything, equipment and yourself.  The rewards are greater when the risks are greater.

Edited by GreatOutdoors
corrections and expansion of concept.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have put a few adds out trying to find people to go explore these places with me so that I'm not alone. No luck so far. Let me know if you are ever planning a trip out that way and I'll try to make it out as well! My email is pforthec420@gmail.com
I appreciate all the info!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×