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What to expect

North Dakota has 157 trails including easy, medium, and difficult trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Schumacher Park and the one with the least climb is the White Butte. The longest trail is North Country Trail at 7520 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 382 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Oxbow Overlook Loop Trail a t 287 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Tommy Turtle Park Walk, Mike Auney Trail Out and Back, Jones Creek Trail, River Park Drive, and Double Ditch Indian Village Loop.

Guide to hiking in North Dakota

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FAQs about hiking in North Dakota

What is the climate like for hiking in North Dakota?

North Dakota experiences a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Winter hikes can be challenging due to icy conditions and sub-zero temperatures. Spring brings a warmer climate, but trails can be muddy from melting snow, while summer can see temperatures above 30°C (86°F), which may lead to heat-related complications.
Fall is often considered the best season for hiking in North Dakota due to moderate temperatures and the spectacular display of changing foliage. However, hikers should be prepared for unpredictable weather, as storms can occur.
The hiking season typically runs from late April through October, with conditions best in late spring and fall. Always check weather forecasts and trail conditions prior to embarking on a hike. The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department's website ( is a helpful resource for up-to-date information.

Do I need a permit to hike in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, many hiking trails are accessible without permits. However, for certain state and national parks, an entrance fee might be required. Information on fees and permits can be obtained from the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (

Is wild camping allowed in North Dakota?

Wild camping in North Dakota is typically permitted on national forest lands, but not in state parks. Rules vary, so check specific regulations for each area. Campfires may be restricted. For more information, consult the U.S. Forest Service (

Are there mountain rescue services in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, in case of an emergency while hiking, dial 911. The state's Search and Rescue operations involve local law enforcement and volunteer organizations. For safety information, visit the North Dakota Parks and Recreation website (

Are there dangerous plants in North Dakota?

North Dakota's landscapes are adorned with diverse flora, including prairie grasses, cottonwood trees, and wildflowers such as the prairie rose. Hikers may encounter these on trails, especially in areas like the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. For more information, consult the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in North Dakota?

North Dakota's wildlife includes bison, deer, pronghorn, and coyotes. Insects like ticks and mosquitoes may be prevalent in warmer months. Always maintain a respectful distance from animals and consider insect repellent. More information is available at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (