Summer Events on Maah Daah Hey Trail
May 17, 2017 | View PDF
The 97 miles of the Maah Daah Hey trail span from the north end of the US Forest Service CCC Campground, 20 miles south of Watford City, to Sully Creek State Park, south of Medora. The trail, named for the Mandan Indian phrase, which means "an area that has or will be around for a long time", takes its visitors through the picturesque rolling prairies, jagged badlands, and winding rivers, and offers potential sightings of golden eagles, elk, and wild horses, among an array of other wildlife.
The Trail boasts eight trail segments, and ten overnight campsites, many with RV access and running water. Horseback riders, hikers and bicyclists share the trail, and trails are closed to motorized vehicles. The trail crosses the Little Missouri at the Elkhorn Crossing, and the Sully Crossing, so be prepared with weather information when visiting these segments.
Though the trails are open year-round, it is during the summer season that most rugged outdoor adventurers plan their visits. The Trails will host a number of exciting events during the 2017 season.
The first event this season, the Badlands Gravel Battle, is a bike race across up to 120 miles of the scoria-laden gravel roads throughout the Maah Daah Hey Trails. Beginning at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, participants may opt for the Little Loop, at 44 miles, the Short Loop, at 77 miles, or the Full Loop, a full 120 miles of single-track biking through the rugged backcountry. Aid stations are available at regular intervals, and the course is fully marked. Food and drinks are available at the finish line, and an award ceremony will award top finishers and outstanding performers. Pre-registration and a small fee are required. Registration is open until May 26th with the race on Sunday, May 28.
For a full-body experience, try the first annual Bull Moose Mudder on Saturday, June 10th. This Badlands obstacle course mud run starts with a pistol shot at 1PM at the Medora Family Fun Center at the entrance to the Medora Campground. The race is a three-mile loop with three categories of participants; a shorter run just for fun, a longer run for more competition, and an endurance category, where participants complete as many competitive laps as they can in 3 hours. The course itself includes an array of challenges, from lifting, carrying, navigating natural obstacles, river crossings, hill climbing and a man-made obstacle course. There is also a Kid's Fun Run following the awards ceremony, where children of all ages are allowed to complete obstacles with parental supervision. Registration and a small fee are required for participants. Registration deadline is Friday, June 9th.
For the most extreme adventurer, try the Maah Daah Hey 100, a competitive bike race challenge that spans the full length of the Maah Daah Hey single track trail. A shot gun start is at 6AM sharp on Saturday, August 5th at the CCC Campground. Aid stations and bail-out points are available at regular intervals throughout the race, but this race is not for the faint of heart. Shorter races, ranging from 13 miles to 75 miles are also available, and participants may choose to complete the race as a relay team. Registration is open online until August 1st, and fee submission is required.
If running is your forte rather than biking, try the Maah Daah Hey Trail Run on Saturday, July 9th. The race begins at the CCC Campground and ends at the Family Fun Center in Medora. Various distances are available, ranging from a 5K to half and full marathon lengths, all the way to the full 106 miles. Aid and bail out stations are available. Registration and fees are required to be submitted by July 28th.
All registration fees for these events go to the Save the Maah Daah Hey non-profit organization to upkeep the trails. For more information about these events or to register, visit http://www.experienceland.org. For additional visitor information about the Maah Daah Hey Trails, visit http://www.mdhta.com.