The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In North Dakota

Maah Daah Hey Trail/Long X Trail
Little Missouri National Grasslands • Watford City

Is it possible for one million acres to be a “hidden” gem? If so, that is how to describe the Little Missouri National Grasslands, the largest federally man- aged grasslands in the country.

For this canine prairie hike disabuse Seaman of any notions of an easy trot through a pasture. The Maah Daah Hey Trail - from the Mandan Hidatsa Indian language for “area that has been around for a long time” - courses through an eye-popping variety of terrain in its 144 miles. Yes, your dog will get time bounding through endlessflat grasslands but there will also be climbs through some of the baddest of Dakota’s badlands.

At the northern terminus of the MDHT a sporty counter-clockwise 11- mile loop can be welded with the Long X Trail, an historic cattle passage where Texas longhorns once kicked up sod. Seaman will likely still see cattle on the Long X today. The route begins in the bottomlands of the Little Missouri River, perfect for splashing and swimming for your dusty trail companion, before switchbacking on ledges through the clay buttes and coulees to magnificent views of the surrounding moonscape.

After linking with the MDHT the going is brisk along the single track scar across the prairie. For extra mileage, head right at the Summit Trail junction and see the largest juniper tree in North Dakota in about one-half mile. By the time you finish this one Seaman should be ready to sign on for a cattle drive.

HIKING TIME: 4-5 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)

 

National Parks with Hiking

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Dogs are allowed on the trails throughout the park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Dogs are allowed in the park but not on backcountry trails