The Top Horse Trails in Little Missouri National Grassland
Little Missouri National Grassland, located in western North Dakota, is a stunning and expansive landscape that offers a variety of outdoor activities. From hiking and camping to hunting and wildlife watching, this national grassland truly has something for everyone. For horse enthusiasts, Little Missouri National Grassland provides exceptional horseback riding opportunities with its extensive network of trails. Here are some of the top horse trails to explore in this beautiful wilderness.
1. Maah Daah Hey Trail
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is arguably the most famous and spectacular trail in Little Missouri National Grassland. Extending for over 140 miles, the trail encompasses diverse terrains, including prairies, badlands, and river valleys. Riders can enjoy breathtaking views of the rugged badlands and traverse rolling hills, making this trail a truly unforgettable experience. It is advised to plan a multi-day trip, as the entire trail can take up to a week to complete.
2. Achenbach Loop
For riders looking for a shorter but equally rewarding experience, the Achenbach Loop is an excellent choice. This trail covers around 35 miles and explores some of the most picturesque areas within Little Missouri National Grassland. The Achenbach Loop boasts stunning vistas, deep canyons, and a glimpse into the region's unique geological formations. Be prepared for challenging terrain, including steep descents and ascents.
3. Bennett Creek Trail
Ideal for riders seeking a more leisurely ride, the Bennett Creek Trail is a 14-mile loop that winds through the heart of Little Missouri National Grassland. This trail showcases the area's natural beauty, including lush grasslands and rolling hills. It offers a peaceful and serene riding experience, allowing riders to immerse themselves in the tranquil surroundings. Wildlife sightings, such as deer, pronghorns, and various bird species, are also quite common along this trail.
4. East Fork Trail
Located in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which lies adjacent to Little Missouri National Grassland, the East Fork Trail offers a blend of grassland and badland landscapes. Meandering along the East Fork of the Little Missouri River for approximately 8 miles, this trail provides riders with an opportunity to explore the area's unique ecosystems. Keep an eye out for the region's diverse wildlife, including wild horses, bison, and elk.
5. South Unit Loop Trail
Another neighboring trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the South Unit Loop Trail, is a popular choice for horseback riders. This 20-mile loop showcases the park's iconic badlands, vast prairies, and the mighty Little Missouri River. The South Unit Loop Trail is known for its scenic overlooks and awe-inspiring views, making it a must-ride trail for those seeking a true North Dakota wilderness experience.
Before embarking on any of the trails mentioned, it is essential to be prepared and ensure horses are properly trained, conditioned, and equipped. Always carry sufficient water, food, and protective gear. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of Little Missouri National Grassland and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Little Missouri National Grassland provides a premier destination for horseback riding, offering some of the most captivating views of North Dakota's natural beauty. Whether you choose to explore the Maah Daah Hey Trail's vastness or immerse yourself in the South Unit Loop Trail's breathtaking vistas, these top horse trails in Little Missouri National Grassland promise unforgettable riding experiences in the heart of the American West.