When we visited Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park for the first time, in 2020, I didn’t bother writing a separate post about Medora, the tiny town just outside the national park. There’s not much to it, unless you need to entertain kids or buy crap for Christmas presents or eat ice cream. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those activities! But we weren’t interested. So I won’t write much about Medora, other than some details about the campground.
For the second time, out of necessity, we stayed at Red Trail Campground, but just for a night. Our first night in the area we camped inside the national park, which was super. We would have tried to stay another night in the park except it was 100000 degrees out and we didn’t want Bugsy to be miserable in the trailer while we hiked, so we needed power. The national park campgrounds don’t have hookups.
Red Trail is not our favorite campground. Happily, the check-in person this time was friendly, but our full-hookup spot (despite J requesting and then confirming a couple weeks out a spot in the more spacious power/water-only section of the park) was narrow and crammed in among big rigs and a strange-seeming camp of dudes working on machinery. The campground location is good–the park is walking distance to the main drag of Medora, and biking distance to the national park–but we don’t recommend it.
When we hiked the Maah Daah Hey trail from Sully Creek State Park just outside of Medora on our first visit, we really liked the look of the White Tail Flats campground there. There was no vacancy when we visited this time but we’d rather stay there than at Red Trail. The sites are power-only, and the peace and scenery were a welcome change from Red Trail.
The reason you’re in Medora is to visit the national park, right? So I’ve updated the TRNP post with info about the new hikes we did and the NPS campground we stayed in, and pulled any old Medora stuff from last visit out.
Maah Daah Hey Trail
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 144-mile trail stretching through some of the most incredible badlands scenery in North Dakota and it’s DOG-FRIENDLY. Both visits, we did an out-and-back with Bugsy starting from the Sully Creek State Park trailhead, heading south, as there’s a pretty significant river crossing north-bound from the park.
The trail is famous for long-distance mountain biking and horseback riding and it was the perfect trail for Bugsy after we kept ditching her to hike in the national park. The Maah Daah Hey Trail actually goes through the national park, and we hiked a piece of it in the Big Plateau Loop.
Salem Sue is the world’s largest Holstein cow, and she’s on the way from Fargo to Medora! How could you not stop? We found her amusing, but be warned that taking a trailer up the hill to see her is not the best idea! We had room to turn around, but only because there were just a few other cars in the small parking lot.
We love TRNP, but we don’t love Medora. Next time we’ll stay in the national park.
On our way to Glacier! But first we have to spend a night in Great Falls, MT…