Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visit

During my cross-country trip home from Oregon, I made a stop at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I was not disappointed at all. Yes, the day was a hot one, but it was still enjoyable. President Theodore Roosevelt made his mark in U.S. History as a great conservationist. It’s that concept that got him up on Mount Rushmore and a park named in his honor. It is quite remarkable that in his time as president that he established the U.S. Forest Service (and set aside land for National Forests); signed the Antiquities Act in 1906, which helped him to preserve 18 National Monuments (including Devils Tower which I visited in May); had congressional approval for 5 National Parks to be established (Crater Lake, OR, Wind Cave, SD, Sullys Hill, ND (redesignated as a game preserve), Mesa Verde, CO, and Platt, OK (now Chickasaw National Recreation Area) and 51 wildlife refuges.

The Theodore Roosevelt NP is located in North Dakota because Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is located there. The park has three parts: the North Unit, the South Unit, and Elkhorn Ranch. The North and South units are about 55 miles apart and the ranch is located between them. I visited the South unit. I wanted to visit the North unit and ran out of time. It was too late in the afternoon to trek up to the North unit, if I still wanted to make Bismark at a reasonable time (and I was going to be loosing an hour traveling from Mountain to Central time). I throughly enjoyed the South Unit. This unit has two visitor centers. I first visited the main entrance visitor center and then did the auto tour through the South Unit. I would have loved to do some decent hiking. I didn’t though because it was hot and humid, I was not used to being back in humidity at that point. The South Unit is home to the Badlands of North Dakota. They were stunning! They were similar to the Badlands in South Dakota…just more greenery and trees. The other difference is in SD, you drive along the Northern Rim of the Badlands; in ND, you drive right in the hills.

View at Scoria Point with my summer mascot Buffalo Bill

While I was in the park, there wasn’t too much for wildlife out and about. I don’t blame them. It was a scorcher of a day! I did see prairie dogs and my first ever wild horses. I just stood and watched them from a distance. So cool!

Wild horses!

I did get a little hiking in at one of the stopping points named Wind Canyon. I had to hike up this hill and the view was stunning of the Canyon and the Little Missouri River. I couldn’t get it all into one frame on the camera. It was another one of those places where you just have to stop and take it all in for awhile.

Side A


Side B

The other visitor center I stopped at was at Painted Canyon. I had to the leave the South Unit and hop back on the Interstate to get to this visitor center. The visitor center is also the spot for a rest area. Earlier this summer, I ran across an article on the internet that said Theodore Roosevelt NP was one of the 10 most beautiful National Parks that people don’t see. It was gorgeous! If people do see this park, most often, they see it at the Painted Canyon area. While this area is breathtaking, it’s only a very small portion of the park. I still feel that I only scratched the surface of the park with everything I saw.

Painted Canyon

I loved that I got to work on my photography skills throughout the day. I still have so much to learn and I’m practicing whenever I get the opportunity. I’ve learned that you have to take a lot (A LOT) of pictures before you start to become really decent at the art of photography. Here are two of my favorites from the day. What do you think?

Dandelion-type flower at Wind Canyon

Fence at Painted Canyon

I hope you enjoyed my little pictoral tour of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I highly recommend stopping at the park if you’re ever in North Dakota. In other news, I’m getting back into the swing of life at Career & Leadership Development at UW-Whitewater. I’m so excited about all of my projects for this year! Here are some hints: social media, blogging, internships, and green careers. Next Monday (August 30th), I start training at UW-Madison for my internship…nervous AND excited about starting.


4 thoughts on “Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visit

  1. Paige says:

    I’m not going to lie- I love to travel but N Dakota has never held much allure to me. After seeing your description I’m a little more inclined to go see it for myself. PS whats the story behind Buffalo Bill?

    • ellenhatfield says:

      I’m not going to lie either Paige, TRNP was the only thing I did while in North Dakota. It was wonderful though. I do recommend checking it out. Buffalo Bill is a cute little stuff animal I bought from the National Park Service’s e-store before I did my road trip out to Oregon this spring. The idea was to take pictures with him at different places throughout the trip, just for fun. I was really good for about it for the first couple days and then I kept forgetting him in the car. I have a really cute picture of him as the 5th head on Mount Rushmore. 🙂

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