Do I really need a bicycle in the Badlands? Only if you want to ride in limited places in the Badlands. Here are five ways to see the Badlands, including bicycles
Bicycles have become a popular way to travel the single-track trail called the Maah Daah Hey. Volunteer groups work to keep the trail open to bicycles across the shifting topography.
Bicycles have to stay off the trails at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). They can roll on the pavement, but no further. Only foot traffic is allowed on trails in the Park. Click here to see our feeble attempt at using a bicycle in the Badlands.
(Speaking of the TRNP, did you know it was originally dubbed to be one unit, the entire length of the North Dakota Badlands and called the Theodore Roosevelt National Horseback Park? It was intended to be the nation’s National Park for horseback riding. Instead, only the two ends of the region were brought in to the system. It’s how Theodore Roosevelt got around between his home 25 miles of Medora and the big town of Dickinson.)
Meanwhile, between the two units is a popular horseback trail, the Maah Daah Hey Trail. It’s shared with bicycles and hikers. No motorized vehicles. Bicycles are to stay on only the single-track trail, no exploring deer tracks or cattle trails. A second horseback destination is the Little Missouri State Park. It’s built to accommodate riders of all levels. Corrals, feed bunks, loading chutes are all ready for your next trail ride.
The centuries-old preferred method of transportation in the North Dakota Badlands is by foot. It’s how you get to that far away peak – hiking and climbing when horses and bicycles can’t make it. It’s how you follow the ridges to view the next vista. Click here to read about trails that are rated easy to difficult in the TRNP.
If you’re not ready to get that deep in to the region, try a good sturdy Jeep or Pickup to handle the two-track trails shown on the National Forest Service map. Off-road travel is prohibited. It’s a fire danger. But you’ll get a great window view of the Badlands from a vehicle. Use a Forest Service map to find the trails. The map will also tell you if the two-track trail is on private or public ground. Caution: Don’t try it if it has rained recently. You will get stuck.
And for a bit in the spring, there’s always canoe or kayak. For a few weeks, the Little Missouri River is accessible for a float from the southern part of the state through the two National Park units to the Missouri River near Mandaree.
That’s right. You can access the Badlands on cross-country skis…if you are a hardy soul
When the Little Missouri River is frozen, it provides a good snowy base to see the Badlands from the bottom of the river canyon. In the winter. In the snow. In the cold. Brrrrr. Click here to see how some people actually race on skis in the Badlands.
Drop a comment here to let us know how you travel the Badlands? Anything we missed? (Skateboard??)
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