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Theodore Roosevelt came to the Dakota Territory in 1883 to hunt bison. He enjoyed his time so much that, shortly afterward, he bought a ranch in the area. Theodore Roosevelt National Park houses President Roosevelt’s first homestead in the Roughrider State.
Camping with an RV at Theodore Roosevelt National Park lets you experience this historic locale in a whole new way after the sun sets. Book an RV in Billings County, North Dakota and head over to the park for the weekend or an entire week. Belfield also has RV rentals and is only about a 20-minute drive away. The state capital, Bismarck, is a scenic, two-hour drive west of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Theodore Roosevelt credited his experiences in North Dakota for his desire to run for President of the United States. His first visit was in 1883 to hunt, but after just two weeks in the Badlands, he decided to purchase the Maltese Cross Ranch, also known as the Chimney Butte Ranch. The cabin where President Roosevelt lived while on the ranch was restored to its original state and is now open to the public. The Maltese Cross Cabin is located just a few yards behind the South Unit Visitor Center. Camping with an RV isn't the same as living in a rustic cabin, but you'll get the same sense of the serenity that President Roosevelt felt when he visited North Dakota.
While enjoying the scenery at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, take some time to visit the Elkhorn Ranch. This second homestead is said to have been President Roosevelt’s home ranch purchased after the deaths of his mother and wife. This is a majestic and peaceful part of the ranch without bustling visitors' centers, paved roads, or facilities of any kind. A mowed pathway leads from the parking area to the spot where his cabin stood. Only the foundation stones of the cabin remain, but the ruins are still worth a visit. There are exhibits on display that feature many passages written by President Roosevelt about his time at Elkhorn Ranch.
One of the main draws of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the miles of hiking trails that wind their way through the park. Camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park allows you the opportunity to get an early start on the trails. The park offers easy, moderate, and strenuous paths, so hikers of all abilities will find something suitable. Ten hiking trails are marked as moderate but still offer enough of a challenge to those who enjoy working up a sweat. Trails range in length to just over half a mile to over 15 miles.
National park RV campgrounds can fill up quickly, so be sure to make your reservations early at Theodore Roosevelt National Park to ensure you have a campsite waiting for you. There are two campgrounds in the park that are set up to accommodate motorhome camping. The Juniper Campground is located in the park’s north unit. This is a first-come, first-served campground. Potable water is available as well as vault toilets. Flush toilets are only available during the peak season.
The Cottonwood Campground is located in the south unit of the park. The campground is split into two halves; half of the campsites are reservation only, and the other half are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Vault toilets and potable water are available all year, but flush toilets are only available during the peak season.
Hookups aren't available at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Alternatively, you can camp in an RV near Theodore Roosevelt National Park at the Red Tail Campground in Medora. This campground is privately owned and offers Wi-Fi, modern restrooms with showers, and laundry facilities on-site. Certain campsites come with full hookups. Red Tail Campground is only minutes from Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
While in the Medora area, you may want to take a day and explore the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site. Just southwest of Medora is the two-story, 26-room summer home of Antoine de Vallombrosa, the Marquis de Mores, and his family. The family arrived in 1883 and immediately began building the Chateau de Mores. While residing in North Dakota, the Marquis kept quite busy with many enterprises, including a stagecoach line, a freighting company with refrigerated railway cars, a beef packing plant, and founding a town he named after his wife, Medora. The Chateau de Mores has been restored to its original splendor with many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the family.
While RV camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, take a day or two and drive over to Sully Creek State Park, located just minutes from Medora. The Little Missouri River runs through the park and is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking. You can also hike some the trails in the park, including parts of the 170 miles of the Maah Daah Hey Trail.
No visit to Medora or Theodore Roosevelt National Park is complete without a visit to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of North Dakota’s ranching, rodeo, and Native American communities. It also highlights the state’s colorful past.