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North Dakota Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative North Dakota hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on North Dakota hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota Hiking Trail Finder

  • Buffalo Badlands -- Theodore Roosevelt National Park This is a write up from a TV show, Anyplace Wild. In this uh, "episode," host Arlene Burns and naturalist Bob Steelquist journey on horseback through the Badlands of TRNP. Interesting read & photos.


  • Bullion Butte hike article written by Mark A. Gonzalez of the North Dakota Geological Survey. Enjoyable narrative, sighting of a golden eagle. PDF format, a fun read to get a feel for a Bullion Butte hike.

  • Eskers Huh? Alright, I'll tell you. Eskers are a type of glacial deposit. They were deposited by streams and rivers that flowed on top of the glacier, in cracks in the glacier or, in some cases, in tunnels beneath the ice. No, this is not a hiking link, but we want you to know what you're looking at while you're slacking around. Otherwise, what's the point? This website, Eskers in North Dakota, by John P. Bluemle, gives you an excellent understanding of these fascinating formations.


  • General Page Descriptions & trailmaps provided by trailmonkey.com. It says the page isn't ready, but you just have to click on the North Dakota link and you'll find some good stuff the Monkey has for us.
  • General site by Edward C. Murphy, North Dakota Geological Survey talks about hiking Killdeaar Mountains, Bullion Butte and Dahlen Esker. Just basic, basic info, but a good site nevertheless. Scroll down for the hiking stuff. It's brief.


  • Lewis & Clark Trail/Knife River Indian Village NHS This is actually a B & B, included here for the outstanding photography & some sketchy trail info, including info on High Butte Effigy - Turf Cut Turtle Effigy, and other fascinating sites. This is on the moriverlodge.com website.
  • Little Missouri National Grassland excellent all around page by Tom Domek with info, hiking info, links to maps, more.


  • Medora Area List and brief descriptions of a number of trails in the Theodore Roosevelt NP area & Medora area badlands.
  • North Country National Trail/ND Section An individual hiker describes his experience on the ND section of this trail. Great reading.
  • State Park Trails Entry page for all trails in State Parks by ND State Recreation Department. Better than most state park sites...or maybe it's just the photos.

Life is a Highway

Ask anybody trying to visit all 50 states if they've made it to North Dakota, and the answer is usually "no...isn't that flyover country?" That's when I jump in and rave about TR National Park, and I tell them this story as well...

During my first visit to North Dakota, back in my Traveller's Edge days, I spent a night in an average, semi-run down motel in Valley City. Now I happen to possess the bad habit of emptying my pockets of cash and putting it on top of the TV when I'm on the road. Fortunately, I usually check the top of the TV, but unfortunately, this TV was placed quite a bit higher than average -- so I drove off leaving a $440. "gratuity" for the maid.

You have to understand that I vacationed with a couple thousand dollars in cash and traveller's checks in those days, and I had various wads of money squirreled away here and there in my car, luggage, snack crates, etc. So the $440 wasn't immediately missed. About a week and a half later, however, it became an issue. After a few more days, it was critical that I find it, so Sandy (my lovely wife) and I tried to mentally backtrack to where we saw it last. We got as far back as the motel in Valley City, ND and I remembered the higher-than-normal TV.

"Why don't you call that motel and ask them if the maid turned in some money?"

Yeah, right.

A couple more days, and Sandy insisted that I call. "What have you got to lose?"

"Hi, my name is Rick Bolger, and uh, I stayed at your place about two weeks ago, Thursday the 10th, and I uh, was wondering if by some slight chance the maid might've found an unusual amount of cash in my room?"

"What was the amount?"

"Well, uh, it was about $440."

"Yes. That's what she turned in. Would you like to pick it up, or should I mail you a check?"

So, I guess the best reason to visit this little chunk of "flyover country" isn't the scenery, the grasslands, the badlands, or the stunning sunsets. I'd say the people are the best reason to visit North Dakota. And yes, I gave the maid an extremely fat reward for her honesty.

As far as hiking is concerned, I'm definitely partial to western North Dakota. My absolute favorite place is Medora -- looks more like a movie set than a real town. Normal, churchgoing, unpretentious people live there. In fact, you'll probably find that wherever you are in North Dakota. Can't say for sure, but it's a safe bet.

Your guide to all this is The Dakotas Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places by Robin McMacken. I'm still looking for a book that doesn't lump the Dakotas together; in the meantime, this will do a good job. LOTS of info...not much in the way of photos, but I feel the installments are descriptive enough so that you can sort it all out.

Another, completely unrelated book that I'm quite partial to is Warren Henke's The Legacy of North Dakota's Country Schools. I think this book gives you a real feel for life in the remote parts (i.e., most) of the state, and some pretty good idea of why character counts and that woman whose name I'll never know probably never considered pocketing my $440.

-- Rick Bolger

Want to add YOUR North Dakota hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "submit a site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.

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PS: Have a dinner invitation? Instead of bringing a bottle of humdrum wine or some meaningless flowers, consider bringing a copy of Like a Brother by Gerry Beckley, Robert Lamm, and Carl Wilson. If those names sound familiar, they should. Beckley is a key member of the group America, and you know his voice from Sister Golden Hair. Robert Lamm is still the driving force behind the group Chicago, perhaps his signature song is Saturday in the Park. The late Carl Wilson was the angelic-voiced youngest brother of the Wilson clan, also known as The Beach Boys. His was the ethereal lead on God Only Knows. This album was recorded just prior to Wilson's passing, finished by Beckley and Lamm, and released after a battle with the label. Few have heard it, but those who do are generally at a loss for words to describe the incredible beauty captured on this disc. It is arguably a cut above anything else released in the past decade. If you click on the link (to Amazon) you can listen to samples of a few of the selections.

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