Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Big sky, wind- and rain-etched buttes, and the wandering Little Missouri River make up the wild and less-visited north unit of this off-the-radar park. The park sees a fifth as many visitors as Yellowstone, so you’re more likely to meet a bison than a hiker on the 9.4-mile out-and-back to Achenbach Spring, even during peak season (July and August). Watch for pronghorns, golden eagles, and beavers as you test your routefinding skills on game trails crisscrossing the rust and ochre badlands. You’ll ford the river (check with rangers for levels) as it traverses the rugged, silent Achenbach Hills. Yearning for more? Cross the Little Missouri again for a 17.8-mile overnight loop. Come in June to catch prairie wildflowers in bloom, including prickly pear cactus and prairie rose, or wait until fall to dodge the heat. Pack in all your water. (701- 842-2333; nps.gov/thro
) Trip ID 2148924
The way From Watford City, go 14 miles on US 85 S. Turn right on Scenic Dr. and go 4.9 miles to the Juniper Campground.