The land that G-d forgot: This is a name often given to the vast tract of the North Dakota Badlands because of its barren ridges, mesas, and peaks. These were formed over millennia by the combined action of sand, water, and wind. There are buttes, crevices, outcrops, ravines, slopes, and valleys plunging down to 500 feet. This is where you can find Little Missouri State Park.
Little Missouri State Park lies 17 miles north of Killdeer ND. Driving from Bismarck, it will take you about three hours to get there. Take Interstate 94 W, make a right at Richardton to N Dakota 8, left to N Dakota 200, right to Central Ave S, right to 4th St SE, left to 1st St SW, and right at 98th Ave SW.
Alternatively, you can take a plane to the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport. From there, it is less than two hours’ drive to the park, taking N Dakota 22 N, right to N Dakota 200 E, left to Central S Ave right to 4th St SE, left to 1st St SW, and right to 98th Ave SW.
Established in 1971, Little Missouri State Park is one of the newest state parks in North Dakota. Perhaps because it is a relatively young park, there are not too many structures within the area. However, with its many spectacular sights, especially the Badlands, it certainly has a lot to offer.
Covering a sprawling 5,749 acres of badlands and woodlands, Little Missouri State Park has areas for 30 campsites, including those for RVs and tents, as well as picnic shelters. The larger area, however, is reserved for the 47 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding passing through the badlands, prairies, and wooded areas.
Fire rings, pit toilets, and running water are available for campers. Electric hookups are likewise available although not in all campsites. Horseback riders, on the other hand, will find artesian wells along the trail for watering their mounts.
There are horses at rental concessions within the park from which you can select your mount. If, however, you have your own horse, you can bring it to the park. Corrals are available for them where they can rest after your ride.
Horseback riding and hiking are the two main activities in Little Missouri State Park, getting you through the backcountry where you can spot plenty of wild animals and birds. At dusk and dawn, you are likely to see bobcats prowling as well as mule deer foraging, while you will find coyotes day or night.
Birders will also enjoy watching bald and golden eagles and prairie falcons soar into the sky, or the cedar waxwing male and female passing flower petals or insects back and forth during their courtship.
You will find that primitive camping sites outnumber those with modern amenities. Of the former, some can be accessed only on foot or horseback where you can live almost like the cowboys of the Old West. You may want, however, to carry your portable stoves with their propane fuels in small canisters so you won’t have to gather firewood. The tamer campgrounds include electric hook ups for your RVs as well water supply and toilets.
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Directions: 17 miles north of Killdeer on Highway 22
|Park Name:||Little Missouri State Park||Showers:||Yes|
|State Park:||Yes||Electrical Hookups:||Yes|
|Address:||1403 River Road||Playground:||Yes|
|State:||North Dakota||Horses Allowed:||Yes|
|Phone Number:||(701) 794-3731; (701) 260-1753||Boating:||No|
|Toll Free Number:||Canoeing:||No|
|Reservation Number:||Water Skiing:||No|
|Biking:||No||Others:||Horse rental concessions are available. If you have your own mount, there are corrals for them.|
|Cabins & Lodging:||No||Tent Camping:||Yes|
Entrance fee is $5 per day per vehicle, but a $25-pass, which is valid for one year, is available. Use of the campsites with electricity costs $12 a night, while primitive sites cost less at $10. For the use of the horse corrals and trails, a fee of $6 is charged.
Hours and Seasons:
Little Missouri State Park is open for the whole year, except in times of extreme weather conditions when hiking or horseback riding may be dangerous.