ND DAY TRIP Destinations! Vol 3- Yay Horses!
This series of articles dives into North Dakota treasures that are only a day trip out of Bismarck/Mandan.
disclaimer: Don't ride wild horses...but keep reading for horses I hope are ride-able for ya later this month
Just 150 miles West on I-94 you'll combine epic Badlands vistas with a horseback trip through beautiful trails and even more epic scenery. Welcome to the Little Missouri State Park! I use the exclamation point because there is a stretch of highway there that will have your heart jump in your throat. (it's very steeeep)
About 20 years ago on a lark I set up a reservation for my daughter and friends to take a horseback trip at the park. Figured it would be fun. It was a blast!
This isn't going to be a part of their Wikipedia entry because it's only based on a conversation from memory. But if you were to click that link you'd see it says "the majority of the park's area is managed under lease from federal and private owners". That was the gem of the trip- the family of the woman who was leading the trail ride actually owned a major piece of the park. Here's the odd part- NOBODY WANTED TO BUY THE LAND!
It's "God Country" but it's also off the beaten path, difficult to build on, and well...it's Badlands ain't it? So when she was young, the way her family made money off this amazing chunk of land was by selling lignite chunks they would collect from the canyons. It's like owning a huge diamond no one wants to buy. I hope she is still a part of the trail ride lo' these many years later. It was an honor to hear the story.
I've gotten off my point. It's remote. It's secluded. It's an incredible trip whose trails look like this. Do it for the kids, do it for your sanity and do it for the day. Go even if the horse trails aren't open- which they hope to be May 21.