The Maah Daah Hey Trail: North Dakota's Rugged Beauty
Nestled within the heart of North Dakota's picturesque badlands lies a biking treasure—the Maah Daah Hey Trail. A sprawling 100-mile singletrack that offers cyclists a one-of-a-kind experience, boasting everything from scenic plateaus to challenging climbs.
- Terrain Diversity: From winding single tracks, high plateaus, drainages, and gullies, to the vast prairies, the trail's vastness embodies every conceivable aspect of mountain biking in one grand adventure.
- Climatic Challenges: The trail isn't excessively technical, but the climbs can be demanding. The breathtaking views, however, more than make up for the sweat and toil.
- Signage: Though some cyclists note occasional issues with trail signage, especially near wilderness areas, others appreciate the clear markings. Always advisable to carry a map.
- Livestock Gates: Be prepared to navigate a number of gates, especially around the bully pulpit area.
- The trail, at its core, is not heavily frequented. A trip in the heart of summer might have you encounter just a handful of fellow bikers.
- Weather is a significant factor. Riding after rainfall can be tough, with mud adding substantial weight to bikes.
- For hydration and contingencies: carry ample water, spare tubes (to tackle the abundant cacti), and basic repair kits.
- Wildlife sightings are frequent, adding to the allure of this natural escape.
Access Points & Navigation
The trail stretches between the northern and southern units of Theodore National Park. Those looking to access the trail can head to Medora. A useful pitstop is Dakota Cyclery, conveniently located amidst the downtown shops of this small, charming town. Here, you can obtain maps and advice on the best trail sections to embark upon. Notably, the trail runs between Medora and the CCC Campground, located about 15 miles south of Watford City, ND, with Grassy Butte and Fairfield/So. Fairfield being intermediate towns along US Hwy 85 that offer access to trailheads.
- Water Supply: Some riders found water caches empty, so it's crucial to stock up.
- Trail Sections: While many enjoy the entirety of the trail, some sections, like the cottonwood trail, are advised against due to poor maintenance.
- Shuttle Service: If you're looking to skip certain parts or plan a loop, Dakota Cyclery offers a shuttle service that many riders found invaluable.
- Technicality & Fitness: Though not overly technical, the trail demands a good fitness level given its length and the presence of climbs.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail, located in Medora, North Dakota, is an enticing call to bikers. With its distance set at 100 miles, this intermediate-level network route offers an enthralling mix of nature's beauty and biking challenges. Whether you're looking for solitude amidst rugged scenery or testing your mettle against the trail's undulating challenges, this trail promises an unforgettable ride. Just remember to be prepared and, most importantly, enjoy the journey!