Nestled firmly in the Great Plains, the borders of North Dakota contain prairies, buttes and Badlands alike.
Woven through that rugged American landscape is a vast network of scenic hiking trails. In fact, North Dakota is home to 16 trails nationally recognized for their recreational value.
Which trails are must-see? Read on for the top 5 hiking places in North Dakota.
The 5 Best Hiking Places North Dakota Has to Offer
1. North Country Trail
The North Country Trail is an ambitious, 4,600-mile thoroughfare that connects public lands through seven states. It’s the only trail in North Dakota to earn a National Scenic Trail designation from the U.S. Congress.
The North Country Trail crosses the Red River in the southeastern portion of the state. It then runs over 400 miles through North Dakota to its terminus at Lake Sakakawea State Park.
Hikers can follow the trail to North Dakota’s only waterfall at Sheyenne State forest and take a look at nine other notable landmarks along the path.
2. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is another one-of-a-kind path in North Dakota.
It follows the footsteps of the famed expedition across 3,700 miles and through 11 states, including North Dakota, and is a designated National Historic Trail.
The North Dakota portion of the trail covers 300 miles of Lewis and Clark’s journey up the Missouri River before they moved on to present-day Montana. It includes six visitors sites across the state.
North Dakota is even home to the Lewis and Clark State Park, located in Epping. The park is nestled between the North Dakota Badlands and the northern shore of Lake Sakakawea, named for the famous Shoshone guide who helped see the expedition to success.
3. Maah Daah Hey Trail
The Maah Daah Hey Trail takes its name from the native Mandan Indian word for “grandfather.” The 144-mile trek winds through an expansive cross-section of the North Dakota landscape.
This trail begins 20 miles south of Watford City and runs on to the Burning Coal Campground near Medora.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is open only to hikers and equestrians, so for those looking to get away from motorized vehicles, this is one of best of North Dakota’s hiking places.
4. International Peace Garden
This 2,300-acre garden is located in North Dakota’s Turtle Mountains and crosses over national lines into Manitoba, Canada.
A symbol celebrating the historic friendship between the two nations, the International Peace Garden is home to scenic hiking trails and countless flowers.
If you’re looking for a relaxing hiking place, pay a visit to this landmark. Be sure to visit the inspirational Peace Chapel and 9/11 Memorial Site.
5. Little Missouri State Park
Interested in seeing North Dakota’s dramatic Badlands? Visit the Little Missouri State Park. Home to 47 miles of trails, this awe-inspiring park is located in Killdeer.
The trails are marked by their difficulty level, but most are accessible only on foot or on horseback. If you tackle the Little Missouri, be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen to protect yourself against harsh conditions.