One of the most interesting hikes that we did in Teddy Roosevelt National Park was to the old east entrance gate. We loved this hike because it had plenty of wildlife and ended at a very unique destination. The Old East Entrance Trail is a short, easy hike for families.
In the late 1960’s, the highway was redone in this portion of North Dakota. It became a big separated freeway, and it no longer passed close to the east side of Teddy Roosevelt’s South Entrance. Now it was easier to enter on the south. So, the east entrance was abandoned.
We enjoyed the hike to the old entrance, though. It is only 0.8 miles roundtrip, and it is flat and very easy. Best of all, it travels through a prairie dog town. This is a large, flat, grassy area dotted with prairie dog holes. The small rodents come up out of their holes and eye you suspiciously as you pass through town. If they get too nervous, they stand on their hind legs, raise both paws above their heads, and whistle a high, ear-piercing warning. Our boys love when they screech like that!
After you pass through the prairie dog town, it is a very short distance to the gate. You can see where cars were let in to the park. There is a long low wooden wall, as well as a hand-hewn stone gate. A small building stands next to the gate. Though the doors and windows are boarded and the roof is a bit crumbly, the stone gatehouse is in surprisingly good shape. We walked all around the Old East Entrance and took a few pictures. We liked this relic that hasn’t been used in over fifty years.
The Old East Entrance trail is on the south section main loop of Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Check out our Theodore Roosevelt National Park Kid Hikes for other easy hikes.