Are you thinking of going hiking in North Dakota and looking for some epic destinations?
In this article, I will walk you through all the best places for hiking and tell you everything you need to know about North Dakota hiking.
There are some fantastic North Dakota state parks that have excellent hiking.
A lot of these parks have some of the best hiking trails in North Dakota and also allow for camping nearby so you really have an adventure.
There is so much to see and do in North Dakota. It’s a state with a lot to offer. One of the best things this state offers is the great outdoors and lots of it.
Miles and miles of trails criss-cross their way across the state each offering something a little different.
These trails range from easy strolls to more difficult and rugged ones. Whether you like river banks, lake walking, walking in grassland, or mountain walking North Dakota has it all.
The terrain is diverse, the scenery stunning, and history abounds wherever you walk. Many of the trails are uncrowded, as is the state, and often you might not see a soul all day.
These North Dakota hiking trails are a start and obviously, there are hundreds more but I feel these give you a good starting point.
Choose which one is nearest to where you are staying or the one that appeals to you the most.
So let’s get our compass, put on our hiking boots, grab and water bottle, and set out to explore biking and hiking trails.
15 Scenic Trails For Hiking In North Dakota
Maah Daah Hey Trail
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is one of the best places to go hiking in the United States let alone in North Dakota.
This 144-mile trail is composed of nine trail units that are suitable for hikers of all abilities.
The trail goes through many different terrains from prairies to riverways to valleys to rugged peaks, you see it all here.
It’s in western North Dakota and begins 20 miles south of Watford City ending about 49 miles south of Medora, one of the coolest small towns in North Dakota.
Some of this trail is challenging so make sure you know what is ahead before you set off. For those that walk it though the payoff is huge.
The scenery is incredible the wildlife plentiful and the view breathtaking. Seeing the Badlands on foot will be an experience you never forget.
There are various camping spots along the trail so you really get the full wild primitive experience here if you want.
This is a very unique way to go camping in North Dakota.
This is one of the more famous trails on the list and is perfect if you are looking to hike mountains in North Dakota.
It’s not a leisurely stroll though so make sure you are prepared accordingly.
North County National Scenic Trail
440 miles of this massive 4700 trail sits in North Dakota. The whole trail stretches across eight states and it’s one of the best places for hiking in North Dakota.
The North Dakota part of the trail follows the Sheyenne River from the Ekre Grassland Preserve in the east to the Lonetree Wildlife Management Area in the west.
The trail mainly goes through native grasslands woodland and pastures with 40% following public roads.
It’s quite an easy trail to walk and navigate just be mindful of the road areas. This is one of the hiking trails in North Dakota that offers a lot for both experienced and novice hikers.
This is one of the best locations to experience fall in North Dakota.
Tatman Branch Trail
This is a rail-to-trail with a lot of history. The original rail track dates back 135 years and was a spur of the Great Northern Railroad.
Now it offers 10 miles of recreational rail bed to explore. It starts just north of Minot and ends at the main entrance to the Minot Air Force Base.
The trail is flat and straight so pretty easy going and the route is through prairie countryside. This Dakota trail will suit most and you can walk parts or it all.
Fairview Bridge And Cartwright Tunnel Trail
This is another North Dakota hiking trail where a historic abandoned railroad bridge is the backdrop for this short walk.
This walkway between North Dakota and Montana is only a mile long but well worth a visit. The Fairview Bridge And Cartwright Tunnel cross the Yellowstone River and have a strange story to tell.
The bridge was obsolete before construction began but it was built anyway. Originally built for the never-completed Montana Eastern Railway it was only tested once on a test run in 1914.
The bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places and measures 1,320 feet long and hangs 100 feet over the water.
The Cartwright Tunnel can be reached after crossing the bridge, it is 1,456-foot-long and was built in 1912/13.
If you are looking for one of the best places to go hiking in North Dakota with small children this is it. It’s short and easy and they will love the sense of adventure.
Washburn Discovery Trail
If you are looking for an easy place to hike that is accessible then this is it. A certified Lewis And Clark National Historic Trail site it’s a concrete path of a little over 2 miles.
It begins at the Lewis And Clark Interpretive Center and continues along the bank of the Missouri River.
The views of the river are glorious and along the trail, you can view the last operating ferry boat on the river in North Dakota. Also, the historic Washburn Landing, and the Soo Line Railroad.
These historic sites are interesting points along the way.
North Dakota hiking doesn’t get more scenic, historic, and easy than this.
Missouri Valley Millennium Legacy Trail
This 4.6-mile hiking trail in North Dakota offers a lush green riverbank route passing a number of parks along the way. The Missouri Valley Millennium Legacy Trail straddles the cities of Bismarck and Mandan.
This area is where Lewis and Clarke are said to have met up with Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who would guide them on their expedition
Parks of note along the trails are Keelboat Park which has a 55-foot replica keelboat and Steamboat Park where the Lewis and Clarke Riverboat can be enjoyed.
This Dakota trail has a lot to offer and is one of the best places to go hiking in North Dakota.
Nux Baa Ga Trail Is One Of The Best Places To Go Hiking In North Dakota
The Nux Baa Ga Trail is a biking and hiking trail that takes you close to the third-largest manmade lake in the United States.
The trail follows the shores of Lake Sacajawea and is part of the Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail System.
It takes in about 6 miles of shoreline on a single-track dirt trail. The trail is accessed at the Indian Hills Campground which is west of Garrison
It is one of the best places for camping in North Dakota!
This is a pleasant easy-going trail that has lovely views along the way. This is one of the places to hike that is accessible to most.
Northern Cass Pass
If you are after a leisurely stroll in the Red River Valley then this is for you. It’s straight and flat and goes through prairie land in the north of the state.
It was once a line on the Great Northern Pacific Railroad and in 2012 the rails were removed and the community worked together to create what you see today.
This is one of the best hiking trails in North Dakota. It’s only about half an hour east of the city and will suit most.
Burlington Walking Path
If you are after the best places for hiking in North Dakota then the Burlington Walking Path has a lot to offer. It’s a lovely hiking spot with 5 miles of rolling countryside.
The trail connects the city of Minot with the small town of Burlington. It’s a great biking and hiking trail that is flat and straight.
It’s one of the lovely hiking spots in ND passing by the Des Lacs and Souris rivers. You will find benches, shelters, and even outdoor fitness equipment along the way.
This is hiking in North Dakota at its best.
Greenway of Greater Grand Forks
In 1997 there was unprecedented flooding in this area which devastated the town of Grand Forks, In an effort to ensure flooding doesn’t happen again the Greenway of Greater Grand Forks was born.
Visiting here is one of the best things to do near Fargo ND.
This greenway is 2220 acres and lines the Red River and Red Lake River. It now provides recreational opportunities including hiking.
There are just over 21 miles of paved paths to explore. There is also a 10-mile loop through both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks which is a great way to see the area.
This is one of the best places to go hiking near Fargo ND.
Pipestem Creek Trail
If you are after something a little more challenging then this is the trail for you.
4 miles north of the central North Dakota town of Jamestown this trail is loved by hikers and mountain bikers alike.
It runs for about 8 miles and is part of a larger 35 miles trail system which is near the Pipestem Dam.
The trail traverses through the forest and prairie land and mainly consists of grass, dirt, and gravel.
When hiking this trail be aware the trail can get busy and there can be a lot of bikes on it so be aware at all times.
This is one of the best places to go hiking in the United States. It’s also a great place to go hiking near Fargo ND.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is out of this world and you can hike both the north and south units. Which to choose depends on what you like really.
It is one of the most popular national parks in the Midwest.
The north offers great hiking for novice and experienced hikers and you can do day hikes as well as overnight experiences.
The north unit tends to be quieter and in summer is absolutely full of wildflowers.
Oh and don’t be surprised if you bump into bison.
The south unit has two self-guided trails that are great for most and offer fantastic views.
Bison and wild horses are regular sights. The trails in the south tend to be easier and shorter but don’t compromise on views and experience.
This is one of the best places to go hiking in the United States and the famous trails here are not to be missed.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
The oldest North Dakota state park sits south of Mandan and really does offer something for everyone. Established in 1907 there are several trails in the park and all are relatively easy.
The Bob-Tailed Pass is under a mile long and connects the Little Soldier and Bloody Knife Trail Loops.
The Little Soldier Loop Trail is a short trail at only 1.76 miles long and gives you the best views of the park.
Bloody Knife Trail winds through woods down to the Missouri River valley and then runs by the horse corrals and the Post Cemetery.
This state park is full of history and with nearly seven miles of trails to enjoy choosing will be your only problem. Hiking in North Dakota here offers so much choice.
Turtle Mountain State Forest
If you are looking for mountains in North Dakota, then here you are. Turtle Mountain State Forest is home to some lovely woody areas with great trails.
The forest is located in the western Turtle Mountain area and has over 7,500 acres of pristine forests, wetlands, and grasslands.
There are many trails in this area but the 5.6-km loop gives you a good workout and a good idea of the area.
Little Missouri State Park Is A Great Place To Go Hiking In North Dakota
In Western North Dakota this area is somewhat of a little oasis. With 45 miles of trails to enjoy your only problem will be which way to go.
Some of the trails follow streams, some lead to stunning views of the Badlands. Whichever trail you choose chances are you are unlikely to meet another soul, this park is very uncrowded.
The park is only open from May until October so check on conditions before you go as the weather can change quickly here. The is tranquil hiking in North Dakota and is so lovely.
This is one of the best places to go hiking in the Midwest.
Packing List For Hiking In North Dakota
If you are searching, here are some tips on how to pack lightly when packing to go hiking in North Dakota.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when hiking or biking in North Dakota.
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and is so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking Insta-worthy selfies when hiking in North Dakota.
I never much believed in using packing cubes when traveling. That is until I tried them. Now I am hooked. These are the exact cubes I use to stay organized when I pack for a trip!
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for your adventures and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. . No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. And it comes in many different colors!
So as you can see when it comes to hiking in North Dakota, there are so many hiking spots to choose from.
North Dakota is a great state to visit and has the best places to go hiking in the United States.
It is one of the best places to visit in the Midwest!
Whether you choose to explore the mountains in North Dakota or go hiking near Fargo, ND I know you will have a great time. I hope you enjoy yourself and come back and tell me all about the best places for hiking you found.