There is a fun little hike for kids in the northern section of Teddy Roosevelt National Park. It is short, flat, and ends at a prairie dog town. The kids will love this hike. On our way back to the car, one of our boys said, “Prairie dogs are going up my list of favorite animals now. They are so cute!” Your family will enjoy the Prairie Dog Town Trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
The Prairie Dog Town Trail starts near the restrooms at the parking area for the Caprock Coulee Trail. After about 25 meters from the restrooms, the trail splits. The branch down to the left goes to the Caprock Coulee Nature Trail. Go straight ahead to the Prairie Dog Town along the Buckhorn Trail. The path follows along the face of the cliffs for about a quarter of a mile. There is another split that goes down and right, but even in the summer we found that trail a bit mucky. It is marked by a low post in the middle of the trail.
Instead, go up the small rise to the left. Then follow along the base of the cliffs until you come to a wide open area. There is another of the post signs, this one directing you to the left. Continue along the edge of the valley. The Prairie Dog Town Trail is fairly flat and the trail is wide, so even if it is busy, it doesn’t seem too bad.
After a while, you’ll start to see prairie dogs. Their holes litter the ground everywhere. They stand up as you pass through the town, letting out a little screech of warning. As they do so, they raise their paws like they are surrendering. It is really amusing. Despite their cries of alarm, the prairie dogs let you get within 10 feet of them, even when you are staying on the trail. We saw more than 100 prairie dogs hanging around town. There were even little babies staying close to the holes.
After you have enjoyed the prairie dogs to your heart’s content, you turn around and hike back the way you came. The views of the prairie and the badlands cliffs are beautiful. The Prairie Dog Town Trail was the best hike we did in Theodore Roosevelt National Park! The total distance for this hike was 1.5 miles round trip. For other hike ideas, check out our Kid Hikes in this national park.