North Unit Trails and Map South Unit Trails and Map Maah Daah Hey Trail Information Backcountry Camping Information Water is a commodity not by any means to be found everywhere...When found, it is more than likely to be bad, being either from a bitter alkaline pool, or from a hole in a creek, so muddy that it can only be called liquid by courtesy. Theodore Roosevelt
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. Theodore Roosevelt The park contains 100+ miles of trails. Some are short walks (under 1 miles) and others are longer (16 miles). Take a hike and experience the same wild beauty and solitude of the badlands that captivated Theodore Roosevelt more than a century ago. Safety Messages There are no approved drinking water sources in the backcountry! There are springs and wells, which supply water for wildlife, but none are certified safe for human consumption.
Plan to carry in all your drinking water. Park animals are wild! Although most species may appear shy and stay clear of hikers and riders, the park is their territory and even small creatures may react to protect their home or young, Do not approach any wild animal too closely. Be especially wary of bison. Always stay well clear of these animals and give them the right-of-way. Do not ride horses closer than 100 yards to any bison. There are prairie rattlesnakes in the park. Ticks and poison ivy are also present. Weather can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous! Both summer and winter backcountry users must be prepared for rapid and often violent changes in the weather. Both winter storms and summer thunderstorms can build rapidly and be upon you in a very short time. Choose campsite wisely, flash floods do occur. Be prepared to protect yourself in severe weather, or plan on a hasty evacuation to a place of safety or shelter.
Be prepared for high temperatures during the summer, and protect yourself from the sun and the possibility of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Watch your footing! Backcountry trails are not routinely maintained. They may be rocky and their surfaces uneven, and during wet or freezing weather they will become slippery. Wear footgear with soles that grip and do not scramble on the steep badlands slopes unless you are sure of your footing. Know where you are and where you are going! If you plan foot or horseback travel into the backcountry of the park, know your destination and the route you plan to follow. Although some trails are marked, you could possibly confuse a designated trail with a wildlife trail. Carry a park topographic map and compass. Leave trip itinerary with someone so they can contact us if you are overdue. Cross Country Travel In addition to the established trail system, hikers and horseback riders will find the opportunity to travel crosscountry in the park. Topographic maps of the North and South Units are available for purchase at the North and South Unit visitor centers and will aid crosscountry travelers.
Wildlife trails are also frequently followed by hikers and horseback riders and are especially helpful in rugged terrain and in crossing creeks with steep banks. The openness of the terrain, along with easily identifiable features, is also a boon to those traveling crosscountry. Remember! Whether traveling crosscountry or on an established trail, it is best not to travel alone in the backcountry. In the event of an accident or sudden illness, one or two members of a group can go for help while the others remain awaiting assistance. ...the loneliness and vastness of the country seemed as unbroken as if the old vanished days had returned - the days of the wild wilderness wanderers... It is this very quality of experience described by Theodore Roosevelt that should be preserved in the park's backcountry and wilderness areas. As a backcountry user, you can help. Observe the backcountry use regulations, which were designed to minimize user impact. Whether you are crossing a grassy plateau, a juniper forested slope, or a barren clay butte, be aware of the impact you are having and try to lessen it. - Think before you act. Ask yourself, Is this the way in which I am most likely to
LEAVE NO TRACE of my presence here? River and Stream Crossings Although the Little Missouri River and its tributaries are not fast flowing, they are sometimes subject to high water, especially during spring and early summer, and can be hazardous to ford. Most of the time they can be waded; however, a hiker or horseback rider should use caution because of areas with soft bottoms and deep channels or holes. Consult rangers as to good crossing sites.
Exploring the park's backcountry in the winter can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It also offers new challenges in meeting the environment on its own terms. To insure that your winter experience is as safe and pleasant as possible you should be well prepared for your trip, whether it be a day hike or an overnight stay.
Between October and April sudden storms and low temperatures can result in hypothermia and frostbite if hikers are not properly equipped and knowledgeable about winter survival. Group leaders should verify the adequacy of their party's equipment for survival and personal safety. Special attention should be given to footwear and outer clothing. Plan your trip. Know your limitations. Keep your group together.
It is especially important during this time of year to let others know of your planned route to ensure that someone knows where to start looking for you should you not return when indicated.
All plants, wildlife, natural and cultural features in the park are protected. Do not disturb or remove them. Collection of skulls, antlers and other animal parts is illegal. Hunting is prohibited, as is the feeding or molesting of wildlife. Chasing or otherwise harassing wildlife including approaching wildlife on horseback is illegal. Pets, bicycles and motorized equipment are prohibited on all trails and in the backcountry. Firearms, fireworks and explosives are not allowed in the park. Open fires (wood, charcoal, etc.) are not permitted in the backcountry. All trash and other material packed in must be packed out.
Backcountry camping is prohibited without a permit.
For proper sanitation make toilets in a shallow hole 200 feet or more from water sources. Cover with dirt after use. Be considerate of others. Keep noise low. Hikers must yield the right-of-way to horseback riders. North Unit Trails and Map South Unit Trails and Map Maah Daah Hey Trail Information Backcountry Camping Information