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Cottonwood Campground Overview

For people visiting the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Cottonwood Campground is a great place to stay. Located five miles (8 km) from the entrance to the South Unit of the park, the campground is open year-round. To make a reservation for the group site please visit this the Cottonwood Group Site (ND ) page.


Hikers can access the estimated 70 miles (21 km) of trails within a short distance of the campground. Visit the Hiking and Trail Information page on the park website or stop at a Visitor Center for more details. Located immediately adjacent to the Little Missouri River and filled with Cottonwood trees bird watching in the campground can be a rewarding experience. Watch for Bison that can be seen traveling through the campground on their way to a stop at the river. Just a few miles from the campground is the Peaceful Valley Ranch. A former ranch from Theodore Roosevelt's time, the location also serves as one of the best sites in the park for outstanding night sky viewing.   


Toilets, drinking water and picnic tables are provided at this facility. The site can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. Sites can accommodate up to six people and two vehicles. There are no hookups or a dump station. A water fill station is available for campers (through October 1 each year). All wheeled vehicles and trailers must remain on roadways or pads. The Group Site (site #25) can accomodate 7-20 people and reservations are available the first business day of March for the upcoming summer season.  Go to the Cottonwood Group Site (ND) to make reservations for the group site.

Natural Features

The Little Missouri River is the central, unifying feature of this wild and broken land where, as a young man, Theodore Roosevelt ranched and hunted in the 1880s. The park is part of both the Northern Great Plains and the West, blending a rich natural beauty with diverse human history. The rugged topography, with its flora and fauna, also provides an opportunity to discover the badlands environment as Roosevelt once did. It is a place to experience a land and way of life that helped shape Theodore Roosevelt's attitudes and philosophy regarding conservation. Cottonwood trees surrounding the campsite turn golden in the fall. Although the campground is moderately forested, most of the campsites are in partial to full sun but visitors can cool off in the cold river when temperatures peak during summer. 

Nearby Attractions

The town of Medora has shopping, restaurants, amenities and the Medora Musical is located approximately five miles (8 km) to the south. The Little Missouri National Grassland is the largest National Grassland in the nation at 1.03 million acres (416,826 ha). It is located in western North Dakota and is managed by the Medora Ranger District in Dickinson, ND and the McKenzie Ranger District in Watford City, ND. The National Grassland provides additional recreation opportunities in the area. 

Directions to Campground

The South Unit entrance is in Medora, ND. Medora is accessible via Interstate 94 Exits 24 and 27 in North Dakota. Please note exit 27 is a westbound exit only.Medora is 133 miles (214 km) west of Bismarck, ND and 27 miles (43 km) east of the Montana state line.

This page includes information about Cottonwood Campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park | When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today. | North Dakota | https://www.nps.gov/thro/index.htm