Sully Creek State Recreation Area sits right in the middle of the North Dakota Badlands to the south of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. From the town of Medora, it is less than three miles, or ten minutes, down to the south along East River Road S.
The nearest airport to Sully Creek is Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport in Dickinson ND, which is less than an hour away. Head to Interstate 94 W, take Exit 27 and drive straight to Pacific Ave. When you reach East River Road S, turn left. The one-fourth-mile gravel road entrance to the park is on the right.
The historic Maah Daah Hey Trail begins within the Sully Creek Recreation Area and ends up north at the CCC campground close to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit. Its name is a Mandan Indian phrase which means “an area that has been or will be around for a long time”. Indeed, the Indians were right, as the trail has been in existence for hundreds of years, long before the recreation area had been formally established by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, and it continues to exist today, steadily growing in popularity because of its spectacular sceneries.
In the past, the early Native Americans used the trail as a trade route. It was also a route used by the battling Indians and the frontier Army both for pursuit and escape.
In addition to hiking, horseback riding, and biking at the Maah Daah Hey Trail, the Sully Creek Recreation Area also offers campgrounds and picnic areas. There are 33 campsites within the grounds. Although classified as primitive because they do not have electric hookups, they have vault toilets, pay showers, and an access to potable water. There are also campsites for RVs, with an RV waste disposal site.
As the park is a horseback riding area, there are available corrals you can rent for your horses if you choose to bring your own mounts.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is perhaps the main attraction in the Sully Creek State Recreation Area. It stretches up to 120 miles traversing Little Missouri National Grassland. The place is perfect for hiking, horseback riding, biking, and even extreme running. All motorized traffic is forbidden on the trails making it safe for humans and horses. There are, however, portions of the trail that are off limits to bikers.
If you want to catch a view of the badlands from an excellent perspective, the perfect place to do this is from a canoe along the 274-mile Little Missouri River. You can enjoy the unique land formations as you paddle your way along the water.
After an exhausting day on the trails or river, you can relax in the picnic grounds or campsites roasting hotdogs or marshmallows and making s’mores while recalling the day’s adventures.
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Directions: Travel more than 2 miles on a gravel road while heading south of the town of Medora
|Park Name:||Sully Creek State Recreation Area||Showers:||Yes|
|State Park:||Yes||Electrical Hookups:||No|
|Address:||c/o Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
4480 Ft. Lincoln Road
|State:||North Dakota||Horses Allowed:||Yes|
|Phone Number:||(701) 667-6340 ; (710) 623-2024||Boating:||Yes|
|Toll Free Number:||Canoeing:||Yes|
|Reservation Number:||Water Skiing:||No|
|Cabins & Lodging:||No||Tent Camping:||Yes|
Entrance fee is $5 per day per vehicle, while the fee for primitive camping is $10.
Hours and Seasons:
Sully Creek State Recreation Area is open only eight months of the year, from April 1 to November 30, closing during the cold months of late fall and winter.