Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt National Park- Part 2

Posted from Corum, MT  (Click on Pics to Enlarge)

To see additional pics not included in this blog: 
                Petrified Forest Hike
                Buck Hill Hike

Let me begin by saying that there are many more things to see and do in Theodore Roosevelt NP, but maybe just writing these two blogs will make you want to come and visit.

One very interesting hike we took was to the Petrified Forest.  The only way to get to the trailhead for this hike is to initally leave TRNP and take a graveled road of approximately 7 miles to the west of the park. The road is easily navigated by any vehicle, even our Honda Fit, but always check with the NP folks for road conditions first.

The complete hike is 10.3 miles, but the trail splits a few miles out and visitors can choose to go either left or right.  After doing some research we chose the trail to the left because it allows you to see a greater number of petrified specimens and the distance back to the trailhead is only a bit over 3 miles. The trail climbs for the first 1/2 mile or so.

It was a beautiful day when we made the hike and the initial climb rewarded us with a great view.

The next portion of the trail leads thru a flat prairie land covered with beautiful yellow flowers everywhere.

After stopping to eat lunch along the trail, we made it to an area with a large number of petrified specimens.  This NP contains the third largest collection of petrified trees in the US (according to their literature).

Some trees stumps and logs are easier to identify than others as the soil beneath many have eroded away and only stumps laying sideways are visible.

Notice the minerals which have displaced the wood many years ago to petrify this piece.

Many more pictures of this area are contained in the picture link at the top of this blog.  It was time to hike out, but you always need to be on the lookout for wild animals as this is their land out here. When it comes to bison, there are two sure signs to watch for.  The first is a "bison wallow" where they roll in the grass to create a cleared dirt area.

The second is pretty obvious. (This bison "remains" is older, however.)

Sometimes, you might get lucky and spot one of these great animals, although we saw none on the Petrified Forest Hike.

Another interesting area is again outside of the TRNP "proper".  It's called the Painted Canyon Visitor's Center.  This is actual a "rest area" off of Interstate 94 located at Exit #32 (5 miles east of the exit for Medora).

There is a NPS limited visitor's center, a regular parking lot, some picnic areas for travelers, an overlook into the painted canyon, and a trailhead for a hike down into the canyon.

A bit of a strange rest area as tractor trailers and cars share the area with folks starting out on hikes and others horseback riding.

We were here for the hike.  The Painted Canyon Trail is .9 miles in length and takes about 45-60 minutes to complete (depending on stops for pictures).

Sure, it's easy going down into the canyon, but you still have to climb back out again.

It really is a beautiful park and the panoramas of more beauty is everywhere.

We finally arrived at our last day in the Medora area to explore as we were leaving on Monday, so we decided to take one more drive around the 36-mile scenic drive inside the park.  Took it in reverse this time to see things that we hadn't previously.

A very short hike up Buck Hill takes you to the highest point in the park. It's only .2 miles so this one was a necessity for us. Quite a view from up here!

I wish that we had planned to spend more days in this area.  Who would have known there was so much to see and do in Medora and in TRNP.

I didn't include these attractions in our last few blogs, but a trip to the old Billings County Courthouse (now a museum) was very informative and they present a live narrative between characters of the era which was enjoyable.  I also didn't blog about the Chateau de Mores.  This is a very nicely done exhibit which contains the house belonging to the Marquis de Mores (founder of Madora), a museum, an live narratives as well. Both of these attractions are administered by the North Dakota State Historic Society.

If you would at least like to see some of the pictures for the Chateau de Mores and the Interpretive Center Museum click here.
For more pictures on the inside of the Billings County Courthouse Museum click here.

If you've managed to stay with me this far in the blog, thanks for taking a look!


  1. I'd like to know just who inventories all the petrified wood to determine which NP has the largest amount. Sounds like a great government job to have! :c)

    1. Paul that sounds like a job for you. I know that the petrified tree stumps would be easier to find than some of the markers you guys had to dig for.

  2. The park looks like it has a lot to offer and I enjoyed your shots of it.

  3. I think it all was pretty, but it looked kind of lonely.