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Maah Daah Hey Trail, ND

The North Dakota Badlands are waiting for you!

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    The North Dakota Badlands are waiting for you!

    Special Interest: BikingCampingGreat OutdoorsHikingRunningSportsSports - FitnessSports - PullWalking

    The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 144 mile single-track, multi-use trail between Watford City and Medora. The trail is best for the intermediate to advanced mountain biker. There are plenty of campgrounds along the way to ride the Maah Daah Hey Trail with your dog into a biking trip.

    Maah Daah Hey Trail Quick Links
    Pawtivity Listing: Essential info and tips for dog owners. Link
    Maps & Access:
    Start: Burning Coal Campground – Medora, ND 46.59823, -103.445 Map
    End: CCC Campground – Grassy Butte, ND 47.587370, -103.277838 Map
    Terrain: Sand, Dirt, Rocks, River Crossings
    Elevation: Varied with constant changes. Sections of the trail can be very difficult and steep. Chart:
    Dog Policy: Dogs must be leashed (6ft). Dogs are limited to certain areas within Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Info
    Motor Vehicles: Not Allowed

    Dogs must be leashed on the trail. When in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, bikers and dogs are not allowed on the trail. If you are at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit, take a detour at the Buffalo Gap Trail (between mile 49 and mile 62) marked by a buffalo trail marker. Alternatively, you can just start your ride at the Buffalo Gap Campground.

    A great interactive map is available to visitors of the trail. There are several access points and campgrounds along the trail. Map:

    The Maah Daah Hey Trail starts and ends at (from south to north):

    Burning Coal Vein Trailhead
    Burning Coal Vein Campground
    Medora, ND 58645
    GPS Coordinates 46.59823, -103.445 Map

    CCC Campground Trailhead
    CCC Campground
    Grassy Butte, ND 58634
    Watford City, ND
    GPS Coordinates 47.58635, -103.2786 Map

    Two points of interest on the trail are China Wall between mile 128 and 129 of the trail (GPS Coordinates 47.4899, -103.4122 Map) and Devil’s Post between mile 100 and 101 of the trail (GPS Coordinates 47.2954, -103.5372 Map).

    There are additional trails in the general area, including the Maah Daah Hey Trail. More Trails:

    If you want to do a day hike with your dog consider going on the Long X Trail (5.8 miles) starting at CCC Trailhead (GPS Coordinates 47.58635, -103.2786 Map) located at CCC Campground. This trail connects with the Maah Daah Hey Trail and will give you great views of the badlands. Another trail is the Summit trail (3.8 miles), which branches off the Maah Daah Hey Trail at Mile 142 south of CCC Campground and ends at the Summit Campground.

    Interested in camping along the Maah Daah Hey Trail? Here is a list of campgrounds in the area from south to north. Some campgrounds have day use parking and direct access to the Maah Daah Hey Trail. Reservations are required at two of the campgrounds; Cottonwood Campground and Sully Creek Campground. Refer to the interactive map for links to campgrounds.

    • Burning Coal Vein – close to trail
    • Coal Creek
    • Sully Creek Campground – close to trail, reservations required. (North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department)
    • Cottonwood – reservations required.
    • Buffalo Gap
    • Wannagan – day use parking, close to trail
    • Elkhorn – close to trail
    • Magppie – day use parking, very close to trail
    • Bennett – day use parking, offers 2 other trails in the area
    • Summit
    • CCC – day use parking, direct access to trail


    Primitive camping is also available on US Forest Service and National Park Service (permit required) lands, however, for most it’s much easier and safer with your dog to just stay at one the many campgrounds offered.

    Looking for a shuttle service provider that will also haul your camping equipment? Consider Dakota Cyclery. To save on cost, you can also share a shuttle with others. Another option would be to get a non-biking friend or family member to haul your gear to the campsites you’ll be staying at.

    Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

    Location: Grassy Butte | Medora | North Dakota
    Activities: Walking, Biking, Running, Hiking, Camping

    Items Needed: Bike, Bike Helmet, Bike Repair Kit, Bike Attachment or Springer, Non-Tangling Lead, Body Harness, Water, First Aid, Reflective Tape or Gear, Poop Bags, Other Appropriate Gear

    Safety: Please consult your vet on running with your dog, especially if you have a puppy. Pay attention to your dog's abilities and start slow. Never run when it is too hot or cold outside. And don't forget to check the paws!

    If you are new to biking with your dog, this probably isn't the best trail to start out with as the terrain is varied. You need to gain a better understanding of your dog's pace and abilities. We recommend taking your time on the trail so you can give your dog some rest periodically and soak in all the scenery around you.

    There are hazards on the trail, including rattlesnakes, buffalo, deer, prairie dogs, coyotes, bighorn sheep, elk, porcupines and mountain lions. The Maah Daah Hey Trail Association recommends bringing a bell to ward off wildlife. Horses also share the trail, so if your dog doesn't like horses it may be best to steer clear of the southern end of the trail near the horse camps at Sully Creek State Park.

    Check the weather report before you head out as inclement weather may biking conditions very poor. The Maah Daah Hey Trail crosses the Little Missouri River at Elkhorn Crossing and Sully Crossing, so pay attention to weather and flood reports. We recommend bringing extra socks in case you get wet trying to cross the river. The best time to bike with your dog is during cooler hours of the morning when the sun is just out.

    There are water caches in Bear Creek, Beicegel Creek Road, Long X, Magpie Road, Plumely Draw, Roosevelt, Third Creek, and Tom’s Wash. However, it's always best to bring your own filtered water as sources may not be completely reliable.

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