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Theodore Roosevelt National Park -- Road Trip Day 8


From Devils Tower, which is where we stayed for the night (heck of a KOA there!), we went due north to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The south unit that is, in the Medora area. As per usual, dogs are not allowed on the trails, but what a beautiful sight the park was nonetheless! It was again close to 100 degrees F the day we visited, so no paws on the ground is a good thing!

When telling family, friends, and now ex-coworkers the itinerary of our road trip from PA to WA, this was the probably the national park that turned people's heads the most. Theodore Roosevelt National Park? WHAT IS THAT? 

A surprisingly wonderful park! I knew nothing about it except that it was a national park on our way out west, so why not! See some beauty and get our cancellation stamps, haha. We mostly followed the parks Scenic Loop Drive in the south unit.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Badlands
A view out into the TRNP badlands. Some people have actually said they prefer the badlands here over the badlands at Badlands National Park!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in North Dakota's rugged badlands, and is named fairly obviously after former American president Theodore Roosevelt, who was a 'rugged outdoorsman', despite hailing from New York City (cue the Pace Salsa commercials with the cowboys screaming NEW YORK CITY?!). I wonder if Teddy got his salsa imported from NYC while he was on the prairies?

The park is actually divided into three different sections: the South Unit, the North Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. The South Unit is the more touristy area, and the unit that almost everyone visits, including us. It fit our schedule, and our wants and needs, but if you have the time, please visit the other units. I've heard the North Unit is amazing and way more remote and almost no people. Sounds like an introverts dream.

Couple of Mounds Theodore Roosevelt
Such cool landscapes

Theodore Roosevelt National Park views

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Cool park!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit

There were plenty of prairie dogs here like many parks we've encountered. Alsooooo rattlesnakes. Yeah rattlesnakes. There's signs everywhere warning about them. I'm pretty sure we heard one rattling in the dense dry grasses too. No thanks! I'm not getting attacked on my road trip out west. I have no health insurance during this trip since I left my job to move out west! Ain't no way I'm paying for COBRA. No COBRA, no rattlesnakes. Please.

Beautiful TRNP
Beautiful landscapes on this sweltering day.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Little Missouri River
A River Runs Through It! Little Missouri River

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
There's so much going on.


Theodore Roosevelt National Park has a bunch of trails, and there's something for everyone, except for people with dogs, of course.  If you're up for a challenging adventure, the Maah Daah Hey Trail is a solid pick. Like, extreme. It's long—like, 144 miles long—and it connects the North and South Units. It's not a walk in the park (wait..), but the views are insane. I'm not sure I'm made for something that intense, but if you are, go for it!

If that sounds like too much, no worries. There are shorter trails like Wind Canyon and Boicourt that still give you killer views of the badlands. You can get some great pics and still have time to chill afterward.

Smoking in this facility
Is that a warning?

After TRNP we left Medora and headed west. We originally had a room booked at the Yellowstone River Inn in Glendive, MT. It looked fine online, but when we got there it was kind of sketchy. When I went inside to check in, a guy was verbally fighting with the desk staff. It kept escalating and the angry dude started pulling people into the argument, like "I WASN'T BEING IRRATIONAL, SIR AM I IRRATIONAL?"

 He said that they gave him the wrong key and walked in on some old guy naked. They kept fighting, and the desk staff started pushing back even more, all the while I'm standing there with an awkward smile waiting to check in. After some time I said screw this and walked out. We booked a pet friendly chain hotel (La Quinta) like 5 minutes away. The inn was only like 70 bucks so not a huge loss. We planned for certain contingencies. But yeah. Weird place. The hotel was more than fine. Oh small town America.

  We had a long drive ahead of us the next morning. Check out Day 9 for the details as we headed towards Pompey's Pillar and Bozeman, MT



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