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2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 12; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I-94 and Old US 10

After reaching Interstate 94 after a long stretch into North Dakota on US Route 85 I turned west towards Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


This blog serves at the 12th post in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series; Part 11 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 11; Lonely US Route 85 in the Dakotas

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is 110 square mile National Park consisting of the Little Missouri River Badlands located in Billings County and McKenzie County of North Dakota.  Although Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1978 it has been an area of conservation far longer.  Theodore Roosevelt visited the Missouri Badlands throughout the 1880s to hunt bison and live in seclusion.  Subsequent books by Roosevelt brought attention the Missouri Badlands and it was designated as the Roosevelt Recreation Demonstration Area in 1935 which was transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1946.  In 1947 Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park was established by President Truman under the Antiquities Act and was the only such park to carry such a designation.  By 1978 Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established by Congress.

The Billings County annex of Theodore Roosevelt National Park largely is associated with US Route 10 which was subsequently replaced by I-94 in North Dakota.  I-94 is one of the few Interstates with direct access to a National Park.  From Exit 32 the Painted Canyon Visitor Center and Painted Canyon Nature Trail can be accessed.


Primary access to the Billings County annex of Theodore National Park is along former US 10 on Pacific Avenue in Medora and East River Road over I-94.  Medora dates back to 1883 when it was established as rail siding of the Northern Pacific Transcontinental Railroad along the Little Missouri River.  The initial primary export from Medora was buffalo meat which was shipped by the Northern Pacific.  Medora was visited various times by Theodore Roosevelt during the 1880s and was a notable stop on his 1903 Presidential Tour of the West Coast.  Despite being the Billings County Seat Medora's population never exceeded a couple hundred residents and primarily exists now to serve visitors to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The Rough Riders Hotel is located at the intersection of 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue.




From East River Road there is a overlook view of Medora and the Little Missouri River.


Crossing over I-94 there is a overlook view of the Interstate 94 and the Little Missouri River from the Skyline Vista.






East River Road ends at the Scenic Loop Drive which is primary road access through the Billings annex of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  From East River Road I headed east on Scenic Loop Drive towards the Old US 10 Entrance Station.



Despite the road being obliterated ahead this trail ahead served US 10 traffic as an entrance to the Roosevelt Recreation Demonstration Area.  There is an entrance station shelter from the 1930s ahead about 1 mile on a trail.


The remainder of my day was spent hiking and viewing overlooks from Scenic Loop Drive. 






Upon leaving Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora I headed west onto I-94 into Montana.  From the North Dakota State Line I kept west on I-94 to Montana State Route 47 (which I clinched and should have took photos of) before turning east on I-90/US 212 towards Little Bighorn.

Part 13 of this blog series can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 13; Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

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