Maah Daah Hey Trail

The Maah Daah Hey Trail offers 157 miles of almost entirely singletrack traversing the North Dakota landscape across rolling prairies, above the winding Little Missouri River, through, wooded draws, and among clay badlands and plateaus adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Medora, ND

Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Cheyenne, Michif Piyii (Métis), Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, and Hunkpapa lands

15,700'

ELEVATION GAIN

spring to fall

riding season

2-5

days out

7

PHYSICAL challenge (1-10*)

-

women's FKT

157

miles

6

TECHNICAL challenge (1-10*)

-

men's FKT

Stewarded by the Maah Daah Hey Trail Association

Managed by the Dakota Prairie National Grasslands

* Following the bikepacking Roots rating scale

route map and download

Disclaimer: This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your own responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track and waypoints, route data, and the route guide were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, detours, use common sense, obey local laws and regulations, and travel with alternative means of navigation. The Backcountry Bike Challenge and its creators and contributors will in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with following this route or utilizing any of the route resources provided on this website or via RWGPS.

General route description

The Maah Daah Hey Trail (MDHT) is a 150-mile point-to-point trail through the badlands country of western North Dakota above the Little Colorado River and adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The trail offers an unforgettable adventure traversing a rugged section of the Great Plains on what feel like endless miles of singletrack up and down countless hills and draws along the way.

This trail, most popular with mountain biker and horse riders, is well marked, well signed, has 11 small campgrounds along the way, and 8 water caches (you must stock these yourself). There also are long running and mountain bike races held on the trail each year.

The entire length of the trail is mowed annually by dedicated volunteers from the Save the Maah Daah Hey non-profit organization.

Near the northern end of the trail, the official MDHT enters a small Wilderness area where bikes are prohibited, so the route here includes a short dirt road detour around that Wilderness area. Note that the Maah Daah Hey 100 and 150 races use a different detour that crosses private property.

The Maah Daah Hey Trail Association’s website offers a wealth of trail details, trip planning information, and an interactive route map, so we highly recommend spending some time browsing their resources. Print guidebooks and paper maps are also available – see the “additional resources” section below for more information.

What is the origin of the name of the trail? In the words of the MDHTA, it

. . . comes from the Mandan Hidatsa Indians; Tribal member Gerard Baker of the Mandan Hidatsa developed this name for the trail. In the Mandan Hidatsa language, one word or phrase can describe a picture, feeling, or situation. In this case, the phrase means “Grandfather” or “an area that has been or will be around for a long time.”

Photos by Aaron Couch

additional route information

MDHTA Trail Regulations are as follows:

  • The trails are closed to all motorized vehicles.
  • Bicycles are not allowed on the Maah Daah Hey trail as it passes through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Buffalo Gap Trail is an alternative route around the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park boundary for cyclists.
  • Camping is prohibited on private and state land.
  • Users must stay on the trail when crossing private and state land.
  • Close any gates that you open.
  • Stock users must use weed seed free hay or feed in order to reduce the risk of exotic/noxious plant introduction.
  • Artifacts and other cultural features are protected by Federal Law. DO NOT COLLECT OR DISTURB.
  • Pack out all trash and other materials. Burying trash is prohibited.
  • Do NOT wash dishes or use detergents in water sources.
  • For proper sanitation make toilets in a shallow hole 200 feet or more from camp, water sources, and trail.
  • For your safety, DO NOT APPROACH OIL AND GAS FACILITIES; poison gases may be present.
  • Be mindful of snakes and ticks along the route. More information on the MDHTA’s FAQs page.
  • This is a multi-use trail opened to non-motorized users. Bikes yield to hikers and horses. 

  • The MDHTA offers an interactive map and trail guide here
  • A print guidebook is available at the MDHTA’s Store
  • A print map is available at the US Forest Service offices: Medora Ranger District Office located at 99 23rd Ave West, Dickinson, ND; McKenzie Ranger District Office located at 1905 S Main St,  Watford City, or you can order a map from the MDHTA website Store.
  • Also see the The Maah Daah Hey 100 MTB Race website.
  • The route can be raced in either direction.
  • You must ride 100% of the route in accordance with the FKT rules.

your rides on this route

Ride with GPS FKT Leaderboards – Southbound & Northbound