“This loop combines the North Petrified Forest Trail, Maah Daah Hey, & South Petrified Forest Trail.”
— Ethan Martinson
This loop combines the North Petrified Forest Trail
, Maah Daah Hey
, and South Petrified Forest Trail
to form a 10.5-mile loop. Most of the trail, including the entire portion along the Maah Daah Hey
, is through prairie grassland. The trail can be extremely slick in places if it's rained recently.
Features: Birding — Views — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Need to Know
There is almost no shade and no reliable water source. Some of the trail markers have been broken, but the trail is well worn and easy to follow.
The trailhead for this run cannot be reached from the main road through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. To get there from Medora, go west on I-94 then take exit 23. Go north along Forest Service Road 730 and follow the signs for the Petrified Forest. You'll pass a private road sign, but you have permission to continue. Continue on this road until you reach Road 730-2. Turn right then take the first left. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended as the road can have large ruts and potholes.
There's about a 175-foot ascent in the first half mile of the trail which is the second largest climb along the route. The North Petrified Forest Trail
portion is the most strenuous portion of the loop and contains the most elevation change. There's a 300-foot descent then immediately a 300-foot ascent just before meeting the Maah Daah Hey
trail. The Maah Daah Hey
portion is almost entirely flat open grassland. The South Petrified Forest Trail
is also mostly flat open grassland except for the area where the petrified wood is located.
Flora & Fauna
Wildflowers, prairie grasses, bison, wild horses, deer, and rabbits.
History & Background
The petrified wood collection is one of the largest in the country. The north trail has the larger concentration of petrified wood.