“A nice run to introduce people to the Maah Daah Hey Trail; not too rugged but with spectacular views of rugged badlands.
— Karen Ryberg
Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This section of the trail stays at a fairly high elevation, for the Maah Daah Hey
Trail, and provides spectacular views without the extreme ups and downs that can be found elsewhere on the trail.
This section of the Maah Daah Hey
Trail crosses Federal and State land (signs indicate when you are on State land). Camping is prohibited on State land. Users must stay on the trail when crossing State land. Artifacts and other cultural features are protected by Federal Law.
Take U.S. Highway 85 to Grassy Butte, North Dakota. Approximately 0.5 mile north of Grassy Butte, turn west at the sign of Beiceigel Creek Road (County Road 50). Proceed 5.5 miles west on the paved road. Just before the trail crosses the road, there is a horseback rider crossing sign. Shortly after that sign, there is an approach on the south, left, side of the road. Pull off on the approach.
Cross to the north side of the road and proceed on the Maah Daah Hey
Trail. The trail goes up to the top of a hill that is one of the highest spots on the Maah Daah Hey
Trail, providing views of the badlands, the Killdeer Mountains 20 miles to the east (not actual mountains, but a unique western North Dakota landform), and grasslands filled with wildflowers in May-July.
The trail then goes down a woody draw that has a series of beaver dams holding water to create a unique wetland environment not common to the badlands. The trail follows this draw downstream, eventually crossing the intermittent stream, then going back up a grassy knoll with more views of the badlands to the northwest. Continue on through rolling grassland to the junction of the Maah Daah Hey
Trail with the Cottonwood Trail
. Turn back here and return to the start for a run that is 5 miles roundtrip.
Flora & Fauna
Mule and whitetail deer, antelope, coyotes, beaver, ducks, golden eagle, red-tail hawk, prairie falcon, bighorn sheep, elk, chokecherry, ash, cottonwood, juniper, quaking aspen, and copious wildflowers.