|Some of the wild horses you will encounter inside the park.|
|Bison are everywhere, and sometimes up close.|
|Those bison are grazers.|
|A view of the Badlands and the contours created by the tributaries from the Rockies.|
|Inside Teddy Roosevelt's cabin, remade to show the rooms as they were during his time.|
|The front door to the Maltese Cabin. The markings are from tourists and a reminder of a former era when tourists would mark up famous sites.|
|In front of the Maltese Cabin.|
|Careful, this is a wild area.|
|Prairie dogs are everywhere, are hard to get a good close up photo, and warn each other of impending tourists.|
|A view of the wild horses and colors in the southern section of the park.|
|The carvings of the earth are a result of time and water.|
|The Badlands are famous for a reason.|
|Bison will come right to your car but aren't are interested in you unless you show a threat.|
North Dakota ranks last in tourism but has one shining spot: Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Situated in two separate sections in western North Dakota, this park is part of the Badlands that were created from tributaries and streams flowing from the Rockies that carved the soft clay earth to make the amazing landscape today. Driving along western North Dakota, you’ll notice flat lands that suddenly open up to this beautiful area that has been preserved for the wildlife and greatest president the United States Park System ever knew.
Theodore Roosevelt first came out to North Dakota in 1883 to kill a buffalo before they became extinct. An avid hunter, Roosevelt was afraid he would never get this large beast before they were gone for good, and it shaped his experience. The hunting of big game and his first trip to the west would be a defining moment for him and ultimately his relationship with John Muir, who asked him one night at a campground when he was going to quit his hunting ways. North Dakota, the parks, and the wild would shape him for a second time when Roosevelt’s wife suddenly died during childbirth. Grieving, he left for the west again and would be transformed from a skinny city slicker that was teased by other local ranchers into the famous western “manly” man we knew. In fact, once John Muir’s wife died and was mourning, Roosevelt suggested to Muir that he should move back to the parks to recover his soul and re-find himself. He later did, moving to northern Arizona and spearheading the movement to create Petrified Forest National Park.
A trip to the park will give visitors an insight into Teddy Roosevelt where his relocated Maltese Cabin, his first ranch in North Dakota, is located. There are a myriad of great hiking trails and a loop along the South Unit that will get you up close with prairie dogs warning each other, wild horses, bison, and bighorn sheep. You’ll also get to see landscapes shaped by time and a history instrumental to the National Park System that we have today.