North Dakota March 13, 2018
9 Fascinating Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Theodore Roosevelt National Park In North Dakota
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is North Dakota’s only national park and also its most popular attraction. On average, the park is visited about 600,000 times each year, and some years the amount of visitors is more than the amount of people in the entire state! Did you know that in 1972 nearly 1 million people went and explored the park? Here are some more fascinating facts and tidbits about the TRNP that you probably didn’t know:
1. The park has one of the biggest and last petrified forests in the country.
There are very few places you can see the remains of a prehistoric forest in the way you can see one in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There is a specific trail in the park you can take to see the enormous petrified tree stumps. Petrified trees are created from trees that lived and existed on the land hundreds of thousands of years ago that mineralized into hard rock over time.
2. The park includes over 70,000 acres of land across its three units: the North Unit, South Unit, and Elkhorn Ranch Unit.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is split up into three separate units that include a combined total of over 70,000 acres of land. The North Unit is located near Dickinson, ND, the South Unit is near Medora, ND, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit is not far from there.
3. Over 400 species of plants have been identified within the park.
This prairie landscape is full of hundreds of plant types, including trees such as juniper, cottonwood, and elm. There are large swaths of grassland with many types of sagebrush, native grasses, and more.
4. Along with all those plants, there are tons of animals that can be seen in the park as well.
Bison and wild horses are the two most popular wildlife to view at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but those aren't the only animals that can be seen here. Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs are just a few of the others. There are also hundreds of birds and a handful of reptile species that call this place home. It is the most popular spot to view wildlife in North Dakota!
5. Another unique animal lives in the park you may not expect to see: longhorn steers.
These steers are kept in the North Unit of the park as a way to reflect on what the area was like back in the days of the wild west as the man the park is named after experienced it. Many cattle ranchers brought their longhorn herds up here to graze on the untouched pastures back then.
6. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the best places to stargaze in North Dakota and hosts an annual astronomy festival.
The thousands of stars visible over the badlands are a sight you'll never forget, and one of the best ways to experience them is at the Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival held within the park every year. The three day festival will be held in early September this year.
7. The highest elevation in the park is on Peck Hill at 2,865 feet.
This elevation is the highest in the park, but not the highest in North Dakota. That honor goes to a nearby butte just a little ways south of the South Unit near the town of Amidon. That butte is called White Butte and has an elevation of 3,507 feet.
8. The park is known for its uniquely shaped landscape, but it also has unusual formations hiding in it you might not know about: cannonball concretions.
These perfectly round, smooth natural rock formations are quite impressive and almost hard to believe, but they exist! They are formed in a very specific way over thousands of years and have been slowly revealed underneath the sediment as natural erosion occurs. You can view them at places like the Cannonball Concretion Pullout in the park.
9. Along with those geological wonders, you can also find caprock formations that are equally weird and fascinating.
Caprocks are mushroom-looking geological formations that can be seen within the TRNP. They are formed through erosion over time and turn into quite impressive sights.
Did you learn anything new from this? How many times have you visited the Theodore Roosevelt National Park? Learn more about
the weird geological formations here – they really are neat!