The Maah Daah Hey is one of the jewels of North Dakota open space and a designated IMBA Epic. This ride is a serious adventure and a serious commitment. It is 93 miles of singletrack through painted buttes and tall grass prairies that will both test and awe you.
As it follows the Little Missouri River, the trail blends difficult climbs up the bentonite buttes with challenging downhills. Beautiful vistas abound. Also known as the MDH, this long-distance route is best enjoyed as a multi-day bikepacking or sag-supported adventure
The trail connects the north and south units of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park across the Little Missouri Grasslands. Note that mountain bikers are required to ride alternate routes through the sections of the MDH that cross through national park lands.
For those who plan to support themselves with a vehicle on the Maah Daah Hey, it’s best to identify contact points for each day’s ride to refuel the group with food and water. This will require some planning to navigate the surrounding rural road system. Most roads are passable by two-wheel drive vehicles, although high clearance is recommended. Consult a copy of the Little Missouri National Grassland’s map for a support vehicle strategy.
The MDH is broken down into five sections, each anchored by campgrounds along the route: Buffalo Gap to Wannagan, Wannagan to Elkhorn, Elkhorn to Magpie, Magpie to Bennett, Bennet to CCC. It is located between Medora and Watford City, North Dakota, approximately 40 miles from Dickinson Municipal Airport and 140 miles from the state capital of Bismarck.
The Maah Daah Hey is a shared-use trail, enjoyed by cyclists, equestrians and hikers alike. However, due to its remoteness, it requires total self-sufficiency. Be prepared with your own water, food and maps. Be prepared to employ route-finding and navigation skills.
Photos and information courtesy of MTB Project.