Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Fact Box

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
North Dakota
Established 1978
70,448 acres
Visitation (2006) 435,359

In September 1883, Theodore Roosevelt traveled from New York to the Dakota Territory. He planned to shoot a buffalo.

He discovered that most of the great bison herds were already gone—killed for their valuable hides. Roosevelt also saw the devastation caused by over-grazing, which destroyed wildlife habitats.

He purchased stakes in two cattle ranches on the Little Missouri River, and launched a lifelong conservation campaign that would eventually preserve more than 230 million acres of public land.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1947 to commemorate the president’s dedication to preserving the country’s natural beauty. The park’s two units cover more than 70,000 acres and encompass his Elkhorn Ranch and the log cabin he built on Maltese Cross Ranch.

The Maltese Cross cabin contains period furnishings, including a hutch, rocking chair, and trunk that belonged to Roosevelt. A self-guided auto tour takes you around a scenic 36-mile loop. Drive out to Painted Canyon Visitor Center for a view of the North Dakota badlands. The North Unit also hosts a scenic driving tour and panoramic view from Oxbow Overlook.

More than 100 miles of trails wind through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You’ll also find bison there.