About the trail

The Maah Daah Hey trail system showcases some of our country’s most unique and breathtaking terrain. Majestic plateaus, jagged peaks and valleys, large expanses of rolling prairie, and rivers intertwine to offer the adventurous outdoors enthusiast a taste of pure, unadulterated wilderness.

SEE OUR INTERACTIVE TRAIL MAP

TRAILS AND Distance

The Maah Daah Hey trail system is comprised of nine trail units of varying size and difficulty. From north to south, they are the Wolf (8.8 miles), Long X (5.8 miles), Summit (3.8 miles), Overlook (0.3 miles), Maah Daah Hey (144 miles), Bennett (3.2 miles), Cottonwood (6.9 miles), Ice Cave (1.5 miles) and, Buffalo Gap (18.9 miles).

TERRAIN

Our trail system features nearly every type of terrain found in western North Dakota. This varies from grassy flats and ridges to very rough steep clay badlands buttes with everything in between, including river bottoms and wooded draws to rolling prairie.

CAMPSITES

There are eleven developed campgrounds on the Maah Daah Hey Trail System: CCC, Bennett, Buffalo Gap, Burning Coal Vein, Coal Creek, Cottonwood, Elkhorn, Magpie, Sully Creek, Summit, and Wannagan. Three of these campgrounds have a limited number of reservable sites. They are Buffalo Gap, Cottonwood and Sully Creek.

WATERCACHES

The trail features eight strategically placed water caches: Bear Creek, Beicegel Creek Road, Long X, Magpie Road, Plumely Draw, Roosevelt, Third Creek, and Tom’s Wash.

TRAILHEADS

There are 17 trailheads connecting access roads to our beautiful trail system: CCC, Bear Creek, Bennett, Bully Pulpit, Buffalo Gap, Burning Coal Vein, Coal Creek, Crying Butte (opens in 2024). Elkhorn Ranch, Ice Cave, Magpie, Peaceful Valley Ranch, Plumely Draw, Sully Creek, Third Creek, Tom’s Wash, and Wannagan. Please observe the No-Parking, No-Loitering, and No-Unloading signs along the East River Road south of Medora. Parking along the road in this area can be dangerous. See the USFS warning under the News tab on this website.

Uses

Trail registers indicate foot use (hiking, backpacking & running) accounts for about 70% of the use, mountain bike use at 24% with the remaining 6% as horseback. There is ample opportunity for all sorts of non-motorized outdoor activities within the trail system including camping, bird watching, nature and wildlife photography, and much more.

WILDLIFE

This area of North Dakota provides prime habitat for a variety of mammals and birds. Mule and whitetail deer, antelope, prairie dogs, and coyotes are often sighted, while an occasional golden eagle, red tail hawk, or prairie falcon may be spotted soaring above. Bighorn sheep and elk have been reintroduced into the area and can be spotted by keen observers especially near CCC campground on the north end of the trail. In addition, bison and feral horses roam the range in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

RIVER AND Creek CROSSINGS

The Maah Daah Hey Trail crosses the Little Missouri River in two places, Elkhorn Crossing and Sully Crossing. Water height varies with weather conditions. Consult our FAQ page for more information on the ebb and flow of the Little Missouri in the trail system. Knutson Creek, a slow meandering creek most of the year is crossed by both the Maah Daah Hey Trail and the Buffalo Gap Trail. The bottom of this creek is very muddy so subsurface puncheons have been constructed that will support the weight of trail users. Posts on each side of the banks marks the path of the crossing.

The symbol for the trail is the turtle. Adopted from the Lakota Sioux Indians, the turtle symbolizes patience, loyalty, determination, steadfastness, long-life and fortitude. The turtle shell symbolizes protection and its effigy is emblazoned on the posts that mark the trail.

About the MDHTA Mission

The Maah Daah Hey Trail Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing and maintaining a linear, non-motorized, sustainable, recreational trail system in southwest North Dakota, through voluntary and public involvement, and in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service.

CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS

Curt Glasoe – President (2027)
Amy Vojacek – Vice President (2025)
Mark Zimmerman – Second Vice President (2026)
Britney Barnett – Secretary (2027)
Jesse Hanson – Treasurer (2025)
Glee Mayer – At Large (2026)
Shannon Straight – At Large 2027)
*(Year current term expires)

PAST BOARD MEMBERS (1999-present)

Les Albaugh – Vice President
Aileen Luethe – Treasurer
Swede Nelson – President
Dale Heglund – Treasurer
Jennifer Morlock – Secretary
Bob Shannon – President, Vice President
Don Mayer – President
Lauri Giese
Jutta Schmidt
Roger Ashley – Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President
Darcy Sandstrom
Bennie Lange
Randy Snyder
Rick Lagge
Rod Mitzel – Vice President, Treasurer
Nick Ybarra – 2nd Vice President
Bruce Bishop – Secretary
Brent McCluskey
Nathaniel Bishop

LIFE MEMBERS

Curtis Alkire
Bethany & Levi Andrist
Roger & Pat Ashley
Sandy Baertsch
Gerard & Mary Kay Baker
Bahne, Kay, Charlie & Anna Bahnson
Shannon Straight & Spring Bakke
Glenn & Jolene Baranko
Brittney Barnett & Daniel Dwyer
Bruce & Roberta Bishop
Chad & Emily Mitzel Brackelsberg
Bev Brierley
Rich & Lori Brierley
Doug & Kathryn Burgum
Adam & Barbara Curtis
Tom & Sherri Dickson
Fraternal Order of Eagles Dickinson
Kenneth & Norma Eberts
Stephen & Barbara Fix
Hiram Rogers & Jean Gaugler
Curt & Carol Glasoe
Matt, Carter & Chase Glasoe
Greg & Gunderson
Ron & Sheila Hartl
Dale & Jennifer Heglund
Heidi Heitkamp & Darwin Lange
Earl Hill
William Hoeg
Lisa Kudelka & Jesse Hansen
Dr Tim & Amy Juelson
Ryan & Jo Marie Kadrmas
Christa Kron
Mike & Chandra Langseth
Mark Liebig
Ron Luethe
Noe Mateo, M.D.
Don & Susan Mayer
Medora Convention & Visitors Bureau
Rodney & Carolyn Mitzel
John Randall Olson
Linda Pancratz Family Foundation
Greg Rohde
Hiram Rogers & Jean Gauger
Mike Parke
Charles & Sandra Peterson
Angie Seligman & Randy Krogstad
Brian Selland
Jason, Jennifer, Morgan & Elliot Stiefel
Diane Stoltz Family
Andrea Stomberg & Bruce Britton
Vonnie Tarnavsky
Dwight & Loa Tober
Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation
Loa Tobor
Glenny Ulschak
Kathy & Matt Fischer Valan
Ryan & Amy Jo Vojacek
Steve & Janet Wieser
Nick & Lindsey Ybarra
Mark Zimmerman

POST MARKER MEMBERS

Kevin Kirkey
Glee Mayer

Trail Boss

Jessica Brooke
Eric Lane
Jason Signalness

FOUNDING MEMBERS

Brittney Denesha Jackson
Dickinson Convention & Visitors Center
Dave Helphrey
Donald Kingston
Shelly Lentz
Jeremy Mahowald
Loren & Jennifer Morlock
Shannon Raatz
Leonard Stanley
Robert C. Stein
Brian Williams

In Memoriam

Denton & Paulette Berntson
Kyle Brierley
Justin Hill
Aileen Luethe
Morris Tarnavsky

Membership makes everything possible. If you love the Maah Daah Hey, thank them for their service, or become a member yourself, and get some great MDH gear in the process.