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Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a huge tract of multicolored rock formations, rough grassland and lazy streams, is split into north and south units, approximately seventy miles apart. Exploring the park's seventy thousand acres is an incredible experience, since the park has everything from deserts to woods to mountains. The park provides an opportunity to learn about Theodore Roosevelt's attitudes regarding conservation.
Both the units of the park are at their best at sunrise or sundown; at these times you can observe fauna such as elk, antelope, bison and several fascinating, closely knit prairie dog communities. Your first taste of the southern unit is likely to be at the breathtaking Painted Canyon, seven miles east of the town of Medora. Here, the land is lie a sedimentary layer cake that for millions of years has been baked by the heat of the sun and cut through by erosive streams and rivers.
The southern unit's main visitor center at Medora runs tours, nature walks and lectures by campfire in high season. A highlight of the park is the sublime view from Wind Canyon, ten miles out of Medora. Peaceful Valley Ranch, seven miles from Medora, arranges horseback tours in summer.
The northern unit of the park receives only a tenth of the visitors to the park. However, it is smaller and more spectacular than the southern unit, the highlight being Oxbow Overlook, at the end of a fifteen mile scenic drive. Its visitor center is open daily. Visitors are advised to remember that the northern unit operates on Central Time while the southern unit operates on Mountain Time.