Theodore Roosevelt National Park- South Unit

Wild horses, bison, and majestic landscapes await you at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in Medora, North Dakota. This was our second trip to the south unit. We loved it so much the first visit we decided to return to explore both units. 

There are more park visitors at the south unit but it still feels like you have the place to yourself, especially around dusk when most people are getting ready to turn in. If I had to pick only one unit to visit, I would choose the south unit because of the wildlife, and the town of Medora. Also Painted Canyon Visitor Center is close too….more on that later. 

The south unit has a 36 mile scenic drive which is a good way to learn the lay of the land and see wildlife.

While the north unit has insane views, the south unit is teeming with wildlife. Since the park isn’t overrun with people you are guaranteed to see some animal action. While here we saw coyotes, deer, bison, elk, prairie dogs and the majestic wild horses.

The wild horses paired with the bison make you feel like you stepped into the Dances with Wolves set. It is truly a magical experience to see these horses roaming free. We learned that the horses all have names and that they have tribes they live in. The local shops carry books on the horses. 

OUR FAVORITES: 

  • Take the short hike out to the tip of Boicourt Trail, you feel like you are on the edge of the world, and the views are killer.
Boicourt Trail
  • Watch the sun set from the Wind Canyon Trail.
Wind Canyon Trail

  • Eat dinner at Theodore’s Dining Room.
  • Do a dusk drive to see horses.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Medora is a touristy town, there is a musical, pitch fork fondue, horseback riding and cute shops. There is far more to do here than the north unit.
  • The campground does get full, but you can make reservations for this one. I highly recommend doing this. There is Sully Creek State Park not too far here and some other private campgrounds if the park is full.
  • There is water fill and flush toilets….no showers.
  • Try and snag one of the campsites along the river. We preferred this campground over the north units, the sites were nicer and more spread out. However the tent sites seem to be right on top of each other.
  • Beware of bison! We had one walk right through our campsite one night, that was quite the experience. 
  • We saw the most horse action at dusk around the Jules Creek area.
  • There are very few restrooms along the 36 mile drive so if you see one….use it. You’ll thank me later for this tip.

About the images in this post. All of these images were shot with my Nikon d750. The lenses used were the Nikon 70-200mm, Nikon 35mm, and my Tokina 16-28mm.

Peaceful Valley Ranch
theodore roosevelt national park

disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running! 

disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running! 

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