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Group horse ride through Little Missouri State Park

Group horse ride through Little Missouri State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page

Surrounded by rocky terrain, hills, shrubs, and mixed grass prairie, Little Missouri State Park offers guests breathtaking views of the North Dakota Badlands and the rustic Little Missouri River. Located 10 miles north of Killdeer and 47 miles south of Watford City, this seasonal park features primitive and modern campsites, picnic areas, and miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding.

This picturesque area – 6,000 acres nestled along the western edge of the Little Missouri River – consists of rugged terrain accessible only by foot or horseback making it ideal for outdoor adventures.


Escape for a few days and breathe in the fresh air of this rustic paradise. While visiting this serene North Dakota state park you’ll have a hard time believing that you haven’t stepped back in time, to a slower pace of life. These rustic badlands are a sight to behold! Early travelers named this extensive area ‘badlands’ because of how difficult it was to navigate through them. Today this area creates a perfect escape for guests looking to temporarily abandon the daily hustle and bustle.

During your visit here you may enjoy hiking through this rugged terrain as well as birdwatching, camping, or having a restful picnic while taking in the spectacular views all around.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Little Missouri State Park:

Hiking at Little Missouri State Park

More than 45 miles of moderate to hard trails loop throughout Little Missouri State Park and the surrounding rustic badlands. These trails wind through sections of overgrown grasslands and steep crumbling badlands offering exquisite views from above. Some of the trails extend onto private property, guests should be extra careful to remain on the designated pathways.

Horseback Riding at Little Missouri State Park

Little Missouri State Park is a state designated horse park and many of its trails are open for guests with their own horses. The park also features 81 corrals, a round pen, and other amenities (including hay) designed to accommodate equestrian guests.

If you will be visiting with your horse(s) be sure to familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations before arriving. Some information on traveling with horses in North Dakota can be found at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/.

Birding at Little Missouri State Park

Bring your binoculars and prepare to be awed by the variety of bird species you may observe throughout the park’s diverse landscape and throughout this section of the North Dakota Badlands. Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcons, Mountain Bluebirds, American Redstarts, Black-billed Magpies, Bobolinks, Chipping Sparrows, Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Turkey Vultures, and Wild Turkeys have all been observed within this area.

Nature and Wildlife at Little Missouri State Park

Discover this beautiful wilderness located deep within the heart of the North Dakota Badlands. This picturesque landscape was named ‘badlands’ by the Lakota. The area was avoided because of its rough terrain, lack of drinking water, and extreme temperatures. Today this area is valued for its rustic beauty and protective habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Here you may have a chance to see mule deer, squirrels, rabbits, red foxes, horned toads, bobcats, coyotes, and a variety of bird species. You may also come across the prickly pear cacti or the rare wood lily. Little Missouri State Park is only one of a few locations in the state where the beautiful wood lily plant may be seen.


Pets are allowed at Little Missouri State Park. If you plan on bringing your pet along for a visit here be sure to supervise them and keep them on a leash.


Little Missouri State Park’s backcountry campground features 28 campsites with electricity, 3 primitive campsites, and 4 group shelter campsites. For overnight guests traveling with their horses, the park offers corrals and a round pen.

All campsites have a picnic table and fire ring and access to vault toilets. A dump station is also located near the campground area.

Park Location

Little Missouri State Park
910 103rd Ave NW
Killdeer, ND 58640
Phone: 701.764.5256

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Little Missouri State Park: