2021 has proven to be as equally as wild of a year as 2020. Sadly, I don’t think international travel will open up for quite sometime so we need to start enjoying the amazing things right in our own backyards! And that’s not to say that I haven’t been enjoying them, I just don’t write about them very often. But that’s about to change!
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is quite possibly one of my favorite places to visit in all of North Dakota. It’s always well worth the three-hour drive one way for just a day trip to me.
Things to Do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Find the wild horses
The herd of wild horses is quite possibly one of the coolest things in the park. I have been incredibly lucky to see them every time I’ve been there. I’ve heard sad stories of people that go for the horses, but see nothing but bison and prairie dogs everywhere with the horses nowhere to be found!
According to the NPS.gov website for the national park, the horses are a “demonstration herd for visitor enjoyment. Their presence represents Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences here during the open-range ranching era.” The links on the site also direct you to other pages to learn about the history of wild horses in the Badlands region.
Count the Bison
On my very first trip to the park, I swear that is all I saw. People were stopped and parked in the middle of the road openly gawking. No harsh judgment, I totally get that they are really cool animals!
Being that I live in the “Buffalo City” of Jamestown, ND the bison just weren’t that cool to me. I mean I see a heard of them everyday on the way to work from I-94. But just because the novelty of seeing them was lost on me, didn’t mean I wasted any of the photo opportunities.
Around every corner in the road, was a different herd of bison with a different backdrop. Naturally, all of them needed photographing.
Count the prairie dogs
Have you ever seen the BBC Funny Talking Animals video of Alan and Steve? That’s okay if you haven’t, but you need to pause and watch it right now if you haven’t seen it!
Ever since that video, I’ve had a not so secret love of prairie dogs and I was surprised to see so many of them in the park. They’re so fun to watch run back and forth from one hole in the ground to the next!
But be careful, they can carry The Plague. Not The Corona plague, like the actual Black Death plague from way back when.
Hiking is something I wish I had more of an opportunity to do closer to home. But my side of North Dakota is pretty flat. So hiking near home is basically walking.
But once you head out west, there are tons of hiking trails in Theodore Roosevelt National Park for all skill levels.
Have a Picnic
One of my favorite things to do for lunch while traveling is to bring sandwich fixings and make and have a picnic in the most beautiful spot I can find. TRNP is the perfect place to have a picnic lunch.
I love camping. Whether I camp in a tent or in my car, it’s a fun and much cheaper alternative to staying in hotels.
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Theodore Roosevelt National Park has several designated camping locations.
I should have been a meteorologist. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I should have done a lot of things in life. I like joke that I’m a jack of all trades, master of some.
But I digress.
One of the things I enjoy photographing beyond words is lightning. It’s so much more unpredictable and volatile than the northern lights or the milky way. You might have everything set up to get the perfect shot, but you aren’t guaranteed any shots ever. And I love that risk of going out and not getting any portfolio worthy shots with it.
While I don’t recommend driving around the national park “chasing” storms. If you’re in the right spot at the right time, the landscape of the park provides an incredible backdrop for any weather-related photography you want to do.
Take photos of everything because it’s that gorgeous
Jumping off the photography aspect of storm chasing. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of those places where you will want to take pictures of everything. There is no possible way you’ll get a bad photo from the park. Promise.
Bring your camera and be trigger happy with the shutter button!