Elkhorn Ranch Site, Theodore Roosevelt National Park

4.8
#7 of 9 in Things to do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Ranch · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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Elkhorn Ranch Site reviews

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8 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Download a GPS map before you go because there’s no cell service and many missing road signs. We came in from the north and it took us 2 hours to find it because we kept getting lost. The directions.....  more
    Download a GPS map before you go because there’s no cell service and many missing road signs. We came in from the north and it took us 2 hours to find it because we kept getting lost. The directions.....  more »
  • Nice, peaceful area to visit on a summer day. Keep in mind that you will have some dirt roads to get there, so plan accordingly. You may need a different video and will need to see what the weather... 
    Nice, peaceful area to visit on a summer day. Keep in mind that you will have some dirt roads to get there, so plan accordingly. You may need a different video and will need to see what the weather...  more »
Google
  • GETTING THERE: The first and most important thing you need to keep in mind when visiting Elkhorn Ranch is that it is INCREDIBLY isolated. You'll likely lose cell signal about 30 miles out, and you'll definitely lose it when you drive into the canyons that hide the ranch from the rest of the world. I approached from the north and egressed to the south, and both paths had me on some well groomed dirt roads for at least 20 miles in both directions. There aren't too many obstacles for your vehicle to traverse, the worst thing we had to drive over were tiny washouts in the road, along with a few bison/cattle chips. Other than that, the drive was very achievable. THE RANCH: You begin to understand the crushing remoteness of the area on the drive there. Human made structures become more and more sparse, and eventually you even stop seeing other vehicles. Then you get to the turn off that leads to the ranch, and you truly feel sequestered from the world. You drive down into a canyon bottom, and you follow it for a few miles, with the towering walls looming above you. After a few miles, the parking area finally comes into view. You are greeted by a gate, an informative sign, and a guest book. Past the gate is a flat and winding trail that was well maintained and easy to walk on when we visited. Along the way, more informational signs tell various tales of the area. The site of the ranch isn't very far, maybe half a mile, from the parking area. It sits behind more gates, and the main cabin is no longer there, but the foundation stones upon which it sat still remain. THE AMBIANCE: If you aren't a massive Teddy Roosevelt nerd like I am, there isn't much to the site beyond a few signs, a quiet hike, and some beautiful views. It's so far away from anything else that the only thing you'll hear is nature. I didn't hear anything man made until (surprisingly) another visitor drove up to make the hike. The isolation really was almost surreal, and imagining TR enjoying these sights, sounds, and smells nearly every day for 2 years makes you thankful for the luxuries that you enjoy every day. There is a sense of reverence, standing where he stood. watching the same lazy river he watched, and enjoying the same withering heat he enjoyed. The steel of a man who changed the world was forged, by his own admission, right here.
  • Great little area to hike. Seen deer, ravens, bald eagles, golden eagle(those things are massive!) Chipmunk, squirrel, cattle. Enjoyed reading the information boards telling about the area and it's past. River level was at a very low point.

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