Thousands of miles of trails await in the wide-open spaces of North Dakota. Criss-crossing paths over land and water create a patchwork of routes that lead to whatever the soul seeks. With trail experiences ranging from the rugged and difficult sections of the Maah Daah Hey to easy recreational paced routes through iconic state parks, visitors can pedal, paddle, ride and hike their way along the stunning landscapes. Uncrowded river bottoms and grasslands beckon, pristine waters summon the adventurous, and steep grades call to those who love to climb no matter the type of trail or challenge. This summer, North Dakota Tourism invites visitors to blaze their own legendary trail.
Wander Through the International Peace Garden
Enjoy a peaceful outing at one of North America's most symbolic and peaceful locations – the beautiful International Peace Garden. Nestled in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota and Manitoba, the park was created as a tribute to peace and friendship between the people of the U.S. and Canada. The garden encompasses 2,300 acres of stunning natural landscapes; two pristine freshwater lakes; scenic hiking and driving trails; wildflowers; waterfalls; and a large variety of North American birds and animals. The Lake View Hiking Trail is a perfect pathway for avid hikers and birdwatchers with opportunities to spot more than 100 species of songbirds singing in the Turtle Mountains.
Paddle the Sheyenne River Water Trail
The Sheyenne River Water Trail boasts 199 continuous river miles from the north end of Lake Ashtabula to the east end of the Sheyenne National Grassland. Ideal for beginner to advanced levels, kayakers and canoers alike converge on the water trail for up to a full day of paddling and picturesque views. The Sheyenne RiverFest will bring together paddlers from surrounding states for a community-driven event on August 5, 2023.
Hike, Bike and Ride in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
To fully immerse yourself in the one-of-a-kind terrain North Dakota offers, visitors must visit the iconic Theodore Roosevelt National Park. With over 30 trails spread across three areas of the park, it is perfect for hiking, birding and more. Park trails lead to stunning vistas with unobstructed views of a petrified forest and an open range populated by bison, horses, elk, prairie dogs, and other wildlife.
Or visitors can explore North Dakota's Badlands just as Theodore Roosevelt did, on horseback. The North and South Units of the park have more than 100 miles of marked horse trails, plus countless unmarked trails carved by the park's bison herd. Horse riders are permitted in all areas of the park except for camping and picnicking areas and nature trails. Visitors traveling with a large group can make reservations at horse campgrounds in the South Unit and backcountry horse camping is allowed. Guided trail rides are also available near Medora.
In addition to the trails maintained by the National Park Service, the Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 144-mile non-motorized single track that traverses through the Badlands and the national park. Designated an EPIC trail by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Maah Daah Hey Trail leaves visitors breathless with jagged peaks, and its majestic views of the Badlands, and is worthy of its own road trip for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Please note, off-road cycling is not allowed in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and all bicycles must stay on paved or dirt roads.
Traverse the North-Flowing Red River
Jump on the Red River and embark on a journey through the vibrant Red River Valley, an esteemed agricultural region within the U.S. Flowing north between the borders of North Dakota and Minnesota, the meandering river navigates through fertile farmlands adorned with patches of lush bottom-land forests and expansive tall grass prairies. Rentals are available at Hjemkomst Landing Canoe and Kayak Rentals near Fargo or the Boat House on the Red in Grand Forks.
Go Off-Road Throughout the State
With thousands of miles available to off-highway vehicles (OHVs), North Dakota offers plenty of options for an adrenaline-pumping ride. The Roughrider OHV Trail, located 30 miles south of Mandan, features 16 miles of trail along an old railroad bed before ending at Little Heart Bottoms with primitive camping and Missouri River Access. The Turtle Mountain and Pembina Gorge State Recreation Areas together also offer more than 25 miles of trails accessible to OHVs.
Float on the Missouri River
Take a leisurely float on the Missouri River along the same route that Lewis and Clark explored on their legendary expedition. Visitors can launch their own kayak or stop by Missouri River Kayak Rentals, Missouri Kayak Adventures or Paddle On in Bismarck and rent a variety of light watercraft including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and canoes. Day-long floats, overnight trips, or even a couple hours on the local Bismarck/Mandan waters offer the perfect summer adventure.
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