North Dakota] What to do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park? Part 3 - North Unit

Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit

Roosevelt National Park (Theodore Roosevelt National ParkIt is mainly divided into three parts: North unit, South unit and Elkhorn ranch unit.South UnitNorth Unit's harsh landscape is like a magnified version of South Unit, with a much larger number of wildlife than South Unit, and a much wider variety of animals to see, so if you're a wildlife enthusiast, North Unit is a must for you.The distance between North Unit and South Unit is an hour's drive. The distance between North Unit and South Unit is one hour by car, and there are fewer tourists and fewer trails, but the terrain and landscape are more varied, so it is worthwhile to spend a day to visit this area.

The length of North Unit Scenic Drive is 14 miles, from the North Unit Contact Station at the entrance to the Oxbow overlook at the bottom end, the round trip is 28 miles. In winter time, if it snows, the inner part of the drive may be closed, when we came here, the bulletin said River bend overlook and then closed, but it is actually open, so we have to know. When we came here, it was posted that the River bend overlook will be closed later, but in fact, it is open again, so we can only know when we walk.

Also note that the North unit does not have any facilities except for a toilet at the contact station at the entrance.

Wildlife Paradise

It's no exaggeration to say that the North Unit is a wildlife paradise. Bison are the most common sightings here, followed by Bighorn sheep and Longhorn Steers, and it's rumored that there are wildebeests as well, but we didn't see any. Prairie dogs are also very common in good weather.

We saw bison from a close distance just past the visitor center, and then we were almost paralyzed by the sight of them. After the River bend overlook, the road was filled with large herds of bison. But be careful, there are signs on the roadside reminding us that bison are dangerous, so don't get too close to them.

Sheep are also plentiful, and it's rare to see large flocks of them so close together.

Scenic Drive

The 14 mile Scenic drive is not a boring drive, and there are some unlisted scenic spots on the road that are worth stopping to see. Along the way, you can see the badlands along the Little Missouri River.

Cannonball Mystery

The Cannonball Mystery is probably the most amazing attraction in North Unit. Called Cannonball, it is a collection of rounded, cannonball-like boulders soundly placed on the rock face. These round boulders are formed naturally in the rock layer, composed of sand and silt, the largest can be as high as five feet, but there is no definite conclusion as to why they are formed, which is quite amazing.

Little Mo Nature Trail

Walking in from the campsite opposite Cannonball mystery, there is a Little Mo Nature Trail, which is a paved trail, this trail is pushed by a lot of people, and there is also a trail guide book available. The trail is very popular and there is a trail guide book available. However, since it mainly introduces plants, it is more suitable for summer, but in winter, it looks more ordinary. We finally went to river overlook to see the frozen Little Missouri River, if you come here in summer, you can still play in the water here.

River bend overlook

River bend overlook to take a short walk, walk up the overlook can see a section of the Missouri River, this side of the river I think it's quite beautiful, is a must-stop viewpoint.

Oxbow overlook

Oxbow overlook is the end point of north unit scenic drive, there is a 0.2 mile short trail to this overlook, you can easily see the magnificent panoramic view. It is recommended to take the South Achenbachi Trail from Oxbow overlook if you come here.

South Achenbach Trail to Sperati Point

Starting from Oxbox Overlook, this 2 miles trail is on a fairly pristine grassland, and you will pass a large number of bison grazing leisurely along the way. There was a bit of snow on the road, and I was a bit afraid of getting too close to the bison as we walked along without any other people. However, we realized that the bison didn't care about us, and the sheep ran away as soon as they saw us, but all in all, it was a great place to see animals. If you go all the way to the end, you will come to the other side of the canyon, and you can see the view of the valley from Sperati point.

Further reading

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