Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

By Kelsey Cardot

Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Just because the snow has started falling doesn’t mean it's the end of fun activities in North Dakota. Theodore Roosevelt National Park covers a sprawling 70,000 acres and offers unique Badland ecosystems, as well as scenic prairies and plains that the Midwest is famous for. Head to western North Dakota’s most famous park for a wonderful winter adventure. 

Juniper Campground

Juniper Campground is perfect for those looking to be as close as possible to the natural beauty of the park. It is ideal for both RVs and traditional campers. It is located only five miles from the North Unit entrance to the park. There are 50 campsites available, which will surely never fill up during the winter. Amenities are more limited in the winter, but rates are reduced and the campgrounds are much less crowded. Winter rates are only $7 per night.

Maltese Cross Cabin Trail

History buffs will love hiking around the Maltese Cross Cabin, which was used by Theodore Roosevelt before gaining fame and the presidency. After the deaths of his wife and his mother both in 1884 only hours apart, he moved into this serene cabin to clear his mind as he gained appreciation for nature and the conservation of the American west. It is located only a short walk from the visitor center for the park. 

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The area receives about 30 inches of snow annually, making it a hot spot among winter sports goers, especially for those interested in snowshoeing. Snow usually begins in October and stays until April, leaving plenty of time for snowshoe hiking. There are many trails in the park that are perfect for exploring. These areas will not be busy in the winter, giving snowshoers a closer connection to the wilderness around them. 

Ice fishing

The Little Missouri River that zig zags through the park is famous among fishermen and fisherwomen as being full of fish like chubs, minnows, blue gills, catfish, carpsuckers, and walleye. Once the ice gets thick enough, ice fishing can be done on the lakes in the park. Remember to get a fishing license for North Dakota!

Cross-country skiing

Brave cross-country skiers descend on the park in the winter months to make their own paths through the serene wilderness winter wonderland. Cross country skiing can be difficult here, as the trails aren’t groomed, are narrow, and can cross creek bottoms that may be filled with snow that hides their depth. The park suggests beginner skiers stick to the frozen Little Missouri River and on closed park roads. 

Chateau de Mores, Medora, ND

Chateau de Mores is a historic site that shows the life of Antoine de Vallombrosa who arrived in 1883. The 26-room building was his family’s summer home and is now a museum that contains many of the family’s original items and artifacts. Tours are only available in the summer, but the site is still a sight to be admired when surrounded by snow. 

North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Medora, ND

A visit to the North Dakota countryside isn’t complete without some cowboy culture! Cowboy everything can be found at Medora’s famous North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. This 15,000-square-foot, immersive museum tells the history of cowboys, Native Americans, and settlers of the Medora area, as well as a Hall of Honorees. Admission is only $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students, and free for children seven and under. 

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Badlands Pizza Parlor, Medora, ND

Badlands Pizza Parlor in the heart of Medora is a favorite among families. After a long day of hiking and exploring, nothing hits the spot more than huge slices of tasty pizza! The menu offers a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, salads, soups, breadsticks, chicken wings, nachos, and more. The items are all reasonably priced and incredibly filling and delicious at Badlands Pizza Parlor!

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Dickinson Museum Center, Dickinson, ND

If you want to explore North Dakota’s history but stay warm while doing so, the Dickinson Museum Center is the place to be. Get some steps in while exploring the sites many options—such as the Badlands Dinosaur Museum featuring all things dinosaurs; the Joachim Regional Museum displaying the trials and tribulations of being a North Dakota businessman in the late 1800s; the Pioneer Machinery Hall which shows off early ranching and agricultural artifacts; and finally Prairie Outpost Park which you can tour historic and ethnic structures. You’ll get a lot more than local history while here!

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Stark County Public Records from the 1800s-1920s

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