Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a great place to ride. The challenging terrain, reasonable riding distance, and surrounding beauty provide an excellent one-day getaway from the local roads of Bismarck/Mandan. While riding anytime between April and November is possible, I prefer to visit the park in early June when much of the surrounding vegetation is green and the wildlife is active.
The park exists as two units: north and south. The north unit, located approximately 50 miles north of Belfield, ND, has a 14 mile out-and-back road that terminates at the Oxbow Overlook.
The south unit is immediately north of Medora, ND. This unit showcases a 36 mile loop perfect for bicyclists. Despite the lack of a shoulder along the loop road, automobile traffic is normally light and almost always travelling less than 30 mph. The terrain is surprisingly hilly (for North Dakota), with many short, steep climbs. It is an ideal ride to test the legs after logging a spring time of base miles.
(Looking south from Boicourt Overlook)
The Central Dakota Cyclists have organized a group ride the last three years through the south unit during the third Saturday in June. Bicyclists of all backgrounds and abilities have attended, and all – with the exception of one cyclist this year – have been able to ride the 36 mile loop at least once.
(Riders take a break while a storm builds to the west)
(A family event... ...and a great workout as well!)
(Riding toward Wind Canyon)