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RV Life Diaries Pt 7: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

It’s been a while since you last got a peek into our lives as full time RVers! Last time I left off, we were pulling into Medora, North Dakota to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

After two weeks of on and off driving, my husband and I were very excited to stay put for more than a couple days and see some adorable prairie dogs. 

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TRNP: Painted Canyon Visitor Center

Right before entering Medora, there is the Painted Canyon Visitor Center for Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP for short). After driving over those grated metal bars that keep wild animals contained to the park, we took our first steps in TRNP! 

We also got our first sight of the Badlands which are pictured above. I really don’t think the picture does it justice. Seeing the endless views of giant layers of rock that just stretch on for miles and miles really makes you feel small in this big old world. We wished we had brought binoculars with us because we saw specks in the distance that were most certainly a small gang of bison. 

We Saw the Plans for the new Presidential Library building which is planned to be completed in 2026!
Medora TRNP
Medora's main strip of shops

Meandering Through Little Old Medora

Imagine rolling into a town where the permanent resident count is 151 total! With the  nearest grocery store being 25 miles away and the possibility of snow 10 months out of the year, I can see why. 

Medora has that picturesque old western town feel with Saloon style architecture and cowboy hats being a common feature. Most of the revenue for the town is brought in by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. The foundation runs a lot stores in town and the ever popular Medora Musical with accompanying steak dinner. With that in mind, most stores and activities shut down when tourist season ends the first week of September. We happened to get there just in time, right before August ended. 

I’m making a travel memories journal using stationery I got from Paperwrld

Of Course I had to send out post cards and see this Post Office filled with history!

Hiking the Butte Our First Day

Medora feels as though it is in a valley surrounded by the buttes of the Badlands. There happens to be one such butte you can climb to the top of to hike and see Medora from above. We decided to do that on our first full day there!

The climb was steep enough that there was a rope ladder built into the trail to climb up. It was windy too that day, so it was a tad scary for me (not so for my daredevil husband), but the view was worth it!

Medora TRNP
The view of Medora as we climbed up the Butte

Exploring Theodore Roosevelt National Park

On our day off from work, we planned to explore the park. We unhooked the RV from the campsite and trekked over to the park entrance. We had already went to the visitor center, got a map and planned our day there. We planned to drive through the park and do a couple short hikes. 

I was ecstatic that I was going to finally see some prairie dogs! Ever since we saw them on our honeymoon in Colorado years ago, I fell in love with their adorable little squeaks. Armed with my DSLR camera, we parked in front of the first prairie dog town we saw (yes they are called towns!) and I got to see them in action once again. 

prairie dog trnp
The cutest little prairie dog I've ever seen!
bison theodore roosevelt national park
Bison just chilling on the side of the road
Wild horses grazing together

Our next animal sighting was wild horses! It was truly stunning to see them grazing peacefully together with a jaw-dropping landscape in the background. We spotted them as we got out to see the Skyline Vista view on our drive around the park. 

Next up on our driving/hiking tour was the Wind Canyon hike. It was a short loop that brought us to an overlook of the Little Missouri River. We saw a large gang of bison in the distance grazing and I truly felt like I was in wild country! As we walked back, we made sure not to step on the dozens of grasshoppers that seemed to be on every spare inch of ground.

As one of the lesser-visited parks in the National Park system, I think many people are missing out on the untamed, raw, and rugged beauty of it. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a place truly untouched by time that offers a glimpse into what the wild west used to be. 

Find out some more facts about TRNP here. 

theodore roosevelt national park wind canyon
Our view of the Little Missouri River from the Wind Canyon Vista
theodore roosevelt national park
The intrepid hiker! haha

Fudge, Pickleball and the Medora Musical

We finished out our week in Medora, North Dakota with lots of little walks through town, gorging on homemade fudge and ice cream from the shops (what can I say, we have sweet tooths!). 

The funny part to me is, I will now remember our time spent here whenever we play Pickleball. In town, there were pickleball courts that you could borrow gear and play for free, so of course we took a shine to it when we played in the afternoons after work. We ended up buying our first pickleball set in one of the little stores off main street. I am happy to say that set still gets used frequently! 

Neither of us seek out musicals, but when you get tickets for free, why the heck not? We were lucky enough to score a pair of free tickets for the Medora Musical from a very nice lady at the local post office. 

So on our final night in town, we got to have a little date and see a musical! We munched on a little bag of popcorn and m&m’s while we watched the cowgirls and cowboys on stage dance and sing.

Then we were moving on to our next stop… Rapid City, South Dakota! See more RV Life Diaries Posts here. 

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