We finally arrived at the main entrance of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is located next to downtown Medora ND. This park is often referred to as the North Dakota Badlands and there are two units to the park with the North unit roughly 80 miles to the north of the main entrance. The units are connected by the Little Missouri River and the Maah Daah Hey Trail.
We drove through check in at the Cottonwood Campground in the south unit. This is a dry campground meaning that there are no hook-ups. Our large site included a grill, picnic table, and trail to the Little Missouri River. The bath houses had toilets and sinks only, and there were multiple locations where you could fill your water jugs.
This was our first attempt at dry camping and we made a few mistakes. We could have filled the Cricket's water tank and used battery power to run the water pump, but we didn't. We hauled a three gallon jug for drinking and cleaning instead. Next time, we will make sure to use the water tank and batter power better.
This campground was a lot fun. We really enjoyed our first stay in a National Park. We walked to the river several times where we cooled off and the kids had fun playing in the mud. We also rode our bikes around to explore the park, and we attended a ranger talk each night we stayed at the campground. The ranger talks were something that we were not aware of and they were excellent! The first night a ranger talked about invasive species and how the parks were combatting this terrible issue and the next night the topic was the history of women in the National Parks. Fascinating stuff! We woke on our last day in the park to find a large bull bison grazing 100 feet from our campsite. Luckily it did not care about us and continued eating.
The park - both the North and South Units - are beautiful.
Stay tuned to see how our epic Great Plains tour continues into South Dakota!
Shane and Jessica
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