We mapped our route from the West Coast back toward the Midwest through North Dakota in no small part so we could stop at TRNP. It was on our itinerary last Summer when we were in South Dakota but we cut it out at that time so we could visit The Little Bighorn instead.
We are glad we made it here after all. We had seen that other bloggers had enjoyed it and we did too. Badlands are basically areas of soft rock heavily eroded by winds and water. We were surprised that as soon as we passed east on I94 into North Dakota out of Montana that we were immediately surrounded by all sorts of Badlands.
Teddy Roosevelt was a New Yorker who visited the North Dakota Badlands as a young man. He actually purchased and operated two cattle ranches in the region. When it happened that his wife and mother died on the exact same day in 1894, Roosevelt choose the Badlands territory as his place to grieve. He was the youngest President of the United States at 42 and was the first to speak out on conservation. He greatly expanded the system of National Parks and National Forests. It is very fitting that this area of North Dakota would become a National Park and named after him.
In addition to all the rock formations, the Park has a multitude of Prairie Dog “Towns”. We have seen these guys in several places in the West, but not to extent of their presence in TRNP. We particularly enjoyed these two who we found kissing only to have them step back and exclaim, “who us?”
We only had time to tour the South Unit of TRNP. There are two other sections north of Medora including one of Teddy’s ranches. It is an easy Park to tour with a good 35 mile circle road through the Park with lots of turnouts and trails. In addition to the prairie dogs they also have buffalo herds and wild horses.