Have You Seen This in Person?

Yes, this is North Dakota. Goat pass road from the east, or the north eventually leads to this spot, Devils Pass

Even some North Dakotans are surprised to see their state look like this. That photograph above is from northern Billings County and one of the marked and maintained gravel roads that runs east and west, Goat Pass Road. (Don’t ya love that name!  Drive it and find the goat pass.  Or take it all the way to Devils Pass.)

Above the Greens in the North Dakota Badlands

This is North Dakota. Custer lead his troops through this area on his historic, fateful march to the Little Big Horn in 1876. Today the land looks much the same as it did then, but the addition of modern conveniences and recreational opportunities has slightly changed the landscape.

Many people do not know about the 150-mile long, 50-mile wide stretch near the Montana state line that colors than landscape.It seems to me that the opposite side of the state gets most of the attention and recognition.

Every few days I try to get out for a hike to build up my stamina and endurance for the coming season.  And every trip stops me in awe of what I see.  People say, “Oh yes. I’ve seen the Badlands. I went to Medora.”  They don’t know what they are missing.  That’s why I say when people look at photos from the interior of the Badlands, many do not believe that is North Dakota.

China Wall in the North Dakota Badlands

Yes, this is North Dakota. China Wall is a well recognized area of the North Dakota badlands, accessible by back-roads and a short hike on the Maah Daah Hey Trail. Read about it here: https://wp.me/p8zmWn-1BP


Early Spring

blue skies reflected in magpie creek

March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

February 14, 2020

North Dakota weather can flip flop in 24 hours.

When the weather is nice in early spring, it may not last.


So, take advantage of the fair weather and go see the Badlands wake up from their winter slumber.We’re not up for a big challenging hike in the beginning of the season. We head to Magpie Creek.  A couple years ago, a wildfire swept through the valley.  It’s growing back now, but you may still find charcoal stumps.


The flat floor of the valley is easy walking, and there are gentle hills around for when we feel like getting some elevation.  All three of these images were taken in close proximity.


Most years, we wait until Easter Sunday to take our first Badlands hike of the year.  This year, we got out the end of February and the end of March.  It was still snowy in February, but March was much better.

As this video shows, on March 27, Magpie Creek was rushing bank full and we could not cross.

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By March 30, we could cross the creek, and climb to one of the hilltops. Where we took this photo:

Yes, this is North Dakota as seen from the top of one of the ridges in Magpie Creek Valley, the entire valley opens up below. March 30, 2020

Social Distancing

Go ahead, explore! Here are seven ideas, including Magpie. Click here for 7 ideas.

The campgrounds and official buildings of state and national parks are closed today until the government says they can open. But the wide open lonely spaces of the North Dakota Badlands are perfect for social distancing. 

You’ll be more than 6 feet from anyone.  More like 6 miles!

Head for Devils Pass, or the Ice Caves.  They are three miles either side of Magpie Creek Valley.

You won’t believe this is North Dakota until you see it for yourself.

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One of our favorite things to do is to present to small groups a dynamic photographic talk about the beauty of the North Dakota Badlands, its history, recreation and opportunities.  Just ask!

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