historical tours, camping, wildlife viewing? help me out!
I camped outside the park just as a stop on my drive elsewhere. I decided to take a day and see the park. I have a dog so we could not go beyond the paved parking areas as far as hiking. I was not expecting to enjoy it that much.
I was so surprised by the beauty of the place. The visitor center to the east has a great overlook and information. We spent the entire day and drove around the park twice. There are so many places to stop and soak in the beauty. I was a bit sad because there are a bunch of hiking trails that we couldn’t go on. However we found some hiking outside the national park. Another camper said there was a rustic campground on the north side of the park that they loved but it was some off road driving to get to.
This was one of the unexpected highlights of the summer.
There are two sections to this national park - north and south. The southern part is much more “popular” and closer to the town of Medina and more services. This is where the Cottonwood campground is located. We were there for two nights last summer. We hiked in the badlands area on the Petrified Forest Trail, which you have to leave the park to access. Lots of petrified wood and interesting but if you are there in the summer, go early as it gets hot and there is not much shade. Driving through the park, you are likely to see prairie dogs, bison, and wild horses. Wind Canyon is also beautiful. We did a short hike there and it is very beautiful in the “golden hour”. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by this park.
This park is less than 8 hours away from me, I really need to get it more on my radar. Will be following this thread!
I had seen pictures of TR NP but they were of buffalo grazing on some open pasture. My wife and I were shocked when we first viewed the grandeur of the scenery. The rocks, the buttes, the wild horses, the big horn Sheep, the ruggedness of the seemingly endless bad-land majesty.
We really loved the Grand Canyon when we camped there, it was/is awesome. Yet at one point at TR my wife turned to me and said softly, “This is spectacular, I enjoy this so much more than the Grand Canyon.” That took me aback because I was feeling the same way. You get to see the Grand Canyon but you get to experience TR NP.
We camped at Buffalo Gap (I have reviewed it) which is on National Forrest, or grassland, or BLM or something. Wonderful flush toilets, individual heated shower rooms, fire pit, picnic table, paved slab…All for $6 a night! Short drive from there to the south entrance, and close but out of site of the interstate. Extremely easy to get to and paved if you have a big rig. No hookups, but hydrants are throughout for fresh water.
Thanks for posting this! It definitely has me more excited to check this park out sometime in the future.
hike the trails in the north unit.
I guess the question was “What to do”. The little Missouri runs through this beautiful Park. I think you should check out Kayaking or even Tubing options. My wife had her MCL blow out and we had surgery scheduled after our return, so we didn’t do any hiking but Hiking would be endless and epic. At buffalo Gap where we camped, there were some tent campers who were spending the day off-road biking on the trails. They come from Wyoming 4 times a year to bike the park. they say that a trail leads right back to the camping area. We just drove and got out to enjoy stuff a short walk away and it was still fun just to drive through.
I don’t want to ramble but that is what was so enjoyable. At Grand Canyon you would drive to the edge and look at it all and it was spectacular. then you would drive to another spot and do the same thing. But at TR NP you were on top, you were down at the bottom and everywhere in between. you could experience it all. I’m not saying it was more majestic than the GC but it was almost as majestic, but you could enjoy it ALL.