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Painted Canyon Nature Trail – Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Painted Canyon, a hauntingly beautiful window into the scenery of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, adorns the landscape with a color palette ranging from pinks and reds to blacks, ochres, and greens—this vibrantly colored canyon and its unique formations await the hiker who ventures out on the Painted Canyon Nature Trail.

The Painted Canyon Nature Trail, located in the South Unit of the park near the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, winds 0.9-mile through juniper, sage, and wildflowers as it crosses dry washes and skirts the edges of buttes and badlands—allowing the hiker to admire the effects of ongoing erosion, and the textures and hues of the dry terrain.

From the overlook, you get a sense of the canyon’s character, but to truly appreciate it you must descend into its depths—the Painted Canyon Nature Trail is an easy way to gain a new outlook on geology seen from the rim.

The trail is rated as easy to moderate and gains a meager 253 feet of elevation, making it a great trail for kids as well—don’t miss this popular hike if you find yourself in the North Dakota Badlands.


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