Cottonwood Campground – Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND


WOW…I’d like to say that Cottonwood Campground was horrible and the hosts were mean and grumpy; but I’d be lying. It’s a great campground with sites for everybody from tents to trucks. We were secluded and comfortably shaded with a sprawling view of the Little Missouri River Valley. Wildlife was a constant presence to be watched and respected. Other people who brought generators used them sparingly and all were quiet-running, modern units.

All the facilities are rustic. If you want amenities, bring ’em. If you want peaceful wilderness, leave ’em. This is a first-come, first-served campground administered by the National Parks. We arrived mid-morning in September and had our choice of prime sites. There’s two private campgrounds in town with suitable facilities as a back-up in case the Cottonwood is full. A free dump station is available outside the National Park to the right. No hook-ups are available within the park.

Hiking is a dominate activity. We enjoyed several short, easy hikes accessible by car. We descended a hill and found a bison resting in the shade of a scrub bush. Now we know what the buffalo do when they’re not roaming!

Sunrise and sunset throughout the Painted Canyon are awesome. We enjoyed some incredible displays from the comfort of our trailer. Horseback riding is nearby in season, but we were too late. Several restaurants in Medora looked great, but they were also closed.

So I highly suggest that everyone use one of the other two campgrounds in town, so we can have Cottonwood to ourselves! It’s too good to be true, we should all keep it that way…


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