Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota, United States North America icon North America

Theodore Roosevelt National Park on the western side of North Dakota. The park covers an area of 110.07 square miles (285.08 sq km) and is the only one named directly after a person.

The national park is comprised of three separate portions of land which include the North Unit, South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit.  The South Unit is the largest of the three.

The Little Missouri River is a key feature of the terrain as it meanders through the badlands of all three sections of the park. The badlands and their unique characteristics are the pinnacle attraction of the park.

The ecosystem of the badlands provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife species.  The larger popular species include bison, cougar, bighorn sheep, elk, coyote, mule deer, and white-tailed deer. There are over 185 species of birds that complement the wildlife of the park.

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Highlights

Bison and badlands are the epitomai of the national park’s experience.  The badlands add rich character to the terrain where the buffalo roam.

Badlands

The badlands represent a unique dry terrain that is characterized by sedimentary rocks and clay soils that have been significantly eroded and carved out by wind and water.

The eroded rock formations of the badlands can display the characteristics of buttes, canyons, gullies, hoodoos, and ravines. The sedimentary rock and rich clay vary in colors from the more commonly displayed shades of red to darker tans, browns, and even black.

The hoodoo characteristics are quite different than those seen in Bryce Canyon National Park. The territory is probably more renowned in the southern neighbor of Badlands National Park.

Bison

Although bison are popular in Yellowstone National Park, they are one of the highlight attractions of the badlands area. The American Bison is the species that populate the area.

Bison are massive ungulates and often called buffalo in the United States and Canada. Wood Buffalo National Park is another place that is common for seeing the wood bison.

Bison can reach lengths of 11.6 feet (3.5 m) with heights reaching as much as 6 feet 1 inch (186 cm).  These massive wildlife tanks can reach weights as high as 2,599 pounds (1,179 kg).  Bison are a highlight of the park, but they are wild and should not be approached in any way.

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Theodore Roosevelt Trails

There are over 200 miles (321 km) of hiking trails spread across the three different Units of the larger park.

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Theodore Roosevelt Highlights

  • Badlands
  • Bison

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Sources