Set aside as its own unit of the park, the Elkhorn Ranch site is a perfect place for history buffs to enjoy learning more about Theodore Roosevelt’s self-described “home ranch”. Though Elkhorn wasn’t the first parcel of land that Roosevelt purchased in the area, it quickly became his favorite. Roosevelt wrote extensively of the property, praising the beauty of both the ranch house that he raised and the setting. It was his time spent at the ranch that inspired Roosevelt to protect America’s wild places, something that he is remembered for today.
After 6 years of managing the ranch, duties in New York pulled Roosevelt away from the Dakotas, and he left his cattle in the care of his ranching partner, Sylvane Ferris. Though he kept ownership of the land, Roosevelt rarely visited, and his last trip is recorded as being in 1989, just before he sold the property to Ferris.
While there are no structures present on the land today, there are a number of plaques that commemorate the ranch, and stone foundations mark the sites where the original buildings used to stand.
Short Walk: The roads leading to the Elkhorn Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are unpaved, making them susceptible to storm washout. Check road conditions at one of the park's visitor centers before setting out.
A short run allows visitors to tour the homestead site of the ranch.
Family Friendly: Located not far from the road, this is a perfect spot to imagine what ranching life would have been like for one of America's greatest conservationists.
Gem Type: Historic Site