Standard (tent/RV)
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Unknown
Drinking Water
About Cottonwood Campground

For people visiting the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Cottonwood Campground is a great place to stay. Located five miles from the entrance to the South Unit of the park, the campground is open year-round.


Hikers can access the estimated 70 miles of trails within a short distance of the campground; please stop at a Visitor Center for more details.


Toilets, drinking water and picnic tables are provided at this facility. The site can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. Sites can accommodate up to six people and two vehicles (group site can accomodate 7-20 people). There are no hookups or a dump station. A water fill station is available for campers. All wheeled vehicles and trailers must remain on roadways or pads.

Natural Features

The Little Missouri River is the central, unifying feature of this wild and broken land where, as a young man, Theodore Roosevelt ranched and hunted in the 1880s. The park is part of both the Northern Great Plains and the West, blending a rich natural beauty with diverse human history. The rugged topography, with its flora and fauna, also provides an opportunity to discover the badlands environment as Roosevelt once did. It is a place to experience a land and way of life that helped shape Theodore Roosevelt's attitudes and philosophy regarding conservation. Cottonwood trees surrounding the campsite turn golden in the fall. Although the campground is moderately forested, most of the campsites are in partial to full sun but visitors can cool off in the cold river when temperatures peak during summer.

Nearby Attractions

The town of Medora has shopping, restaurants, amenities and the Medora Musical is located approximately five miles to the south. The Little Missouri National Grasslands is the largest National Grassland in the nation at 1.03 million acres. It is located in western North Dakota and is managed by the Medora Ranger District in Dickinson, ND and the McKenzie Ranger District in Watford City, ND. The National Grassland provides additional recreation opportunities in the area.

ADA Access: N

$14.00 - $30.00
National Park Service
Drive In
Walk In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
Trash Available
Cottonwood Campground is located in North Dakota
46.95 N
-103.5322 W
Get Directions
The South Unit entrance is in Medora, ND. Medora is accessible via Interstate 94 Exits 24 and 27 in North Dakota. Please note exit 27 is a westbound exit only. Medora is 133 miles west of Bismarck, ND and 27 miles east of the Montana state line.
38 Reviews of Cottonwood Campground
nice location

The campsites are pretty spread out here with the exception of the tent area. There are beautiful sites right along the river. No dump station or showers.

Stars, and wildlife.

Came in the off season, just a few people around. loads of wildlife in and around the campground. Billons of stars at night!!! wonderful campsite.


Quiet campground with a nice view. We stayed here one night on our way further west. Would definitely stay again.

If you want wildlife, stay here.

I stopped in a stayed here for two nights on my trip from Milwaukee to Seattle. I am a single tent/car camper. I loved this park so much. I could see why Theodore Roosevelt loved it so much and received to so much from his time there. Even if you can’t stay, I recommend doing the driving loop.

The campground was clean and provided all I needed. Since it’s still considered winter season the bathrooms were not available. I thought someone said something about pit toilets but I never located them. So I just used the woods.

Wildlife do walk right on through the campground sometimes you may come real close to the bison, horses or deer so just be alert. At night you could hear the coyotes, which I loved but others may not.

The south unit (where the campground is) part of the park features a driving loop, which I highly recommend taking several times. You will not be disappointed. I went twice, both around dusk and saw bison, deer, prairie dogs, porcupine, coyote, elk, pheasants, turkey, various birds.

For hiking there’s options from short and sweet, a good day long trip, or overnight trips. I did the 10.5 mi loop through the petrified forests. Very Beautiful!!! Also not to difficult but offers enough challenge. I went North to South. The latter half of the hike was flatter than the beginning that way.

If you forget anything, the town near by (Medora) has a C-store that covers most needs. Otherwise Dickinson is within an hour away and should have whatever you may need.

Great National Park, easy access

This campground is located shortly after the Medora entrance to the park. Right by the Little Missouri River below the colorful hills that tower over the trees, this campground has beautiful views on its own and offers a good starting point to visit the rest of the park, with a couple trails nearby.

Quiet and Secluded

Cottonwood CAmpground in Theordore Roosevelt NP was a nice and welcome surprise. I visited in the beginning of October and the water had already been shutoff, which was a little bit of a hinderance, but it was nice that they reduced the price because of it. Only half of the site were available to use, but I would say they were the best sites anyway. The site were large and spread out. You are able to see the other sites, but they are not right next to you. It is also near the

First time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

I had a wonderful time here. The badlands are definitely where its at. I wasn't planning on staying here but when i realized how close i was i stopped in.

The campground is basic. Fire rings, picnic tables, bathrooms. Met some excellent people played some guitar with this amazing female artist.

The hiking in TRNP is wonderful. i mean there are buffalo and wild horse cmon. Took some hilarious pictures but unfortunately i can't find the external hard drive there on.


In the Badlands!

The main campground in the Teddy roosevelt national park. Toilets, water and dosg welcome. There are walk-in tent camping spots as well as RV spots. A little shade is available here!

Quaint, quiet, scenic campground oasis in the prairies of North Dakota

Cottonwood Campground was a very welcome oasis in the prairies of North Dakota. Along our year-long trip, we slept in a lot of campgrounds, but Cottonwood stands out as just what we needed at the time: quiet, spacious, and beautiful sites, nestled right up along the Missouri river, perfect for taking a dip at the end of a long day of hiking.

We spent four days at Theodore Roosevelt National Park: two in the south unit and two in the north unit. (We also loved Juniper Campground in the north!)

Cottonwood Campground was a great place to crash for two nights. It was cheap, comfortable, and quiet. It allowed great access to the heart of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We even ran into a Teddy impersonator at the Visitor Center!

In the south, near Cottonwood Campground, we loved the beautiful scenic drive, the views from Buck Hill, Wind Canyon Overlook, and the Petrified Forest (a bit of a drive around the park).

You can read much more about our four days in the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Theodore Roosevelt)

Where the Wild Things Are!

If seeing bison up-close is your goal, this park should be on your list! No need to drive many hours to find the herd, they are right there and all around. Note: Bison are wild, potentially dangerous animals, so never approach them. This park abounds in wildlife from prairie dogs to bison to prong horn to wild horses; you’ll see them all in a short drive around the loop road.

Located near the South Unit Visitor’s Center, this campground offers the usual suspects: picnic table, campfire ring, and the ubiquitous NPS comfort stations (flush toilets and sinks, no showers). But these sites offer something more unusual -- many of them are pull-through which is great for campers and trailers, and the vegetation gives a sense of privacy and shade to the site. The river runs close to the campground, and though well forested, there are views of the amazing grassland plain for which the area is famous. Hiking, horseback riding, cycling, and wildlife viewing is all right there.

Reservations are available through