Cottonwood Campground, Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Just for yucks here’s a little data for the Cottonwood CG in Theodore Roosevelt NP, North Dakota. I spent seven days here in June 2014 so I walked around quite a bit (no trails, just the campground roads and park road) and recorded some walks on my GPSr (below):


The park road is somewhat higher elevation so at the junction of the park road and the campground entrance you descend slightly to near the Little Missouri River. The darkest loop (most walks and GPSr tracks) is the main campground loop with pullthru sites for RVs and nice tent spots. My spot was #22.

The campground is generally in a grove of cottonwood trees (hence the name) interspersed with cedars. Between the campground and the river is a grassy area (popular with bison). Most of the “flat” land in the river valley is devoid of trees and mostly grasslands. On both sides of the campground are erosion bluffs with some trees.

Note: at least in early spring this campground is invaded by bison who wander freely through the campground looking for grass.

Here is the Google Earth view of the same area:


You can see individual campsites on this view along the drive on the main loop. The campsites are nicely separate providing a degree of privacy, at least compared to more open campground.

The Cottonwood Campground is the only National Park campground in the southern (Medora) unit of Theodore Roosevelt NP. Some commercial campgrounds are located in and around Medora itself.  It’s a short distance by direct bearing, but a looping road (about 5 miles) into Medora. The ranger station and Visitor’s Center is located in Medora just past the entrance gate. Medora only has one gas station (very expensive, get gas at stops along I-94 instead) which also serves as a convenience store. There are a few restaurants in Medora including the rather upscale one at the hotel.,

Theodore Roosevelt NP is a very nice park. Generally it gets less visitors than the more well-known parks but I’d still recommend going there in early spring (June) to miss the crowds. Driving the scenic drive with few cars is much more pleasant since it is easy to stop and enjoy the views.



About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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