In September of 1883 Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th president of the US) visited the wild and uncivilized state of North Dakota on a buffalo hunting trip. Struck by the sheer loveliness of the landscape, Roosevelt called the state “a world of beauty and color and limitless space,” and actually purchased two ranches in North Dakota shortly thereafter.
Pretty neat, huh?
It’s no surprise that North Dakota natives will still say that Roosevelt’s words speak truth of the state – even though his words were spoken more than a century ago! With all of the natural landscapes and rugged terrain that are still so much a part of North Dakota, there’s plenty to do and see.
Here’s a list of five of our favorite places in the fourth least populated state in the country:
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park: With approximately 70,000 acres of canyons and hiking trails, this park expresses Roosevelt’s declaration “here the romance of my life began.” From June to September, rangers can give you guided tours and you can learn more about Roosevelt at their evening campfire programs. You can also experience many fun outdoor activities, such as bicycling, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and more.
- Maah Daah Hey Trail System: Connecting the southern and northern parts of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the Maah Daah Hey Trail (97 miles). Hikers on the trail may see North Dakota wildlife such as prairie dogs, coyotes, bison, and antelope, as well as almost every type of terrain found in western North Dakota. Outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy miles and miles of wilderness. Other trails in the system include Long X (5.8 miles), Summit (3.8 miles), Buffalo Gap (18.9 miles) along with five others.
- National Buffalo Museum: Known for its rare albino cow White Cloud, the National Buffalo Museum is a 6,000 square foot facility housed in a log building in Jamestown that gives the public information about the history of bison in plains culture. The museum also maintains a 25 to 30 head live buffalo herd on approximately 200 acres of pasture land.
- North Dakota Heritage Center: Detailing the history of North Dakota all the way back to the dinosaur age, the North Dakota Heritage Center houses exhibits that feature indigenous people and artifacts. The museum takes visitors through a chronological journey through time, taking them from the arrival of the first people to inhabit North Dakota to early people, to today’s conflicts and even future innovations.
- International Peace Garden: This attraction is so popular that the nickname “Peace Garden State” was formally adopted by the 1957 legislature. Though this 2,300-acre garden is beautiful in all seasons, the peak time to see the flowers is the end of July through August. The 6,000 cacti and succulents can be seen all year. Since half of the garden is in North Dakota and half is in Canada, it was dedicated “a living monument symbolizing that two nations can live in harmony along the longest unfortified border in the world.”
If you like the outdoors, there are countless places to visit in North Dakota. Whether you’re looking to go on a lake vacation at Lake Metigoshe State Park or wanting to ride a horse or ride a mountain bike with Dakota Cyclery Mountain Bike Adventures, there is always something to do in the Peace Garden State!