nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department

Little Missouri State Park

Hiking Symbol Snowshoeing Symbol Horseback Riding Symbol


Little Missouri State Park has over 47 miles of trails for horseback riding and hiking. Horse corrals are available for individuals and groups bringing in their own horses, and several artesian wells are located within the park for horse watering purposes. Trails are marked at major interestions.

Rider on Trail

Trail use policies

  • Trails at Little Missouri State Park are restricted for use by horseback riders and hikers only. No motorized vehicles or mountain bikes are allowed.
  • The majority of the park's trails are on private or federal lands. Trail corridors on these lands are leased and park users are urged to respect private property and remain on marked trails only.
  • Trails cover a variety of terrain and conditions, requiring horseback riders and hikers to be responsible for safe trail use.
Trail Head
  • Riding or hiking the trails after rain is extremely hazardous. Check with the park ranger for trail conditions before embarking. The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department reserves the right to close any or all trails due to hazardous conditions. Due to trail conditions, livestock locations or changes in lease status, trails may change periodically.
  • Do not graze animals on leased lands. Leases provide trail access only. Grazing by riders over the course of a summer significantly impacts forage for property owners' livestock.
  • Give livestock the right-of-way. If cattle start moving out of an area as a result of your presence, go back and use an alternate route.
  • If you pass through an open gate, leave it open. If you pass through a closed gate, close it behind you.
  • The trails are open for hikers. Hikers should yield to horseback riders. It you hike on the trails, bring along drinking water, watch for rattlesnakes, and give livestock ample distance. The livestock wells along the trails are not tested for public drinking safety standards, and the water from these wells should not be consumed by humans.
  • The use of certified weed-free hay or feed is required. Certified hay can be purchased from the park ranger.
  • Horses, horseback riding and hiking have inherent risks. The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department assumes no liability for damages or injuries that may be caused by horses on the trails or in the corrals and other park use areas.

Trail difficulty ratings

Horseback riders are responsible for assessing their own abilities and their horses' capabilities. The park's trail map is color coded to help both horse riders and hikers to determine which trails fit their experience level:

  • Green Trails: Trails marked in green are the easiests trails, in terms of difficulty. Green trails are the first trails out of the campground/corral area. These trails follow more gradual inclines, are generally wider than Blue and Black trails, yet still offer panoramic views of the Little Missouri badlands. Riders looking for a gentle ride or on inexperienced horses should use these trails as a first choice.
  • Blue Trails: Blue trails follow steeper terrain or extend further into the park or leased lands. Trail users will find narrower trails, a slight increase in the terrain's steepness, and more difficult terrain than Green trails.
  • Black Trails: Black trails follow the most difficult riding or hiking terrain. Longer, steep inclines and travel on narrow, high ridges will be encounters. Only experienced riders on horses accustomed to badlands terrain should use these trails.