Hydrologic Activity

"...the Little Missouri, like most plains rivers, is usually either a dwindling streamlet, a mere slender thread of sluggish water, or else a boiling muddy torrent running over a bed of shifting quicksand, that neither man nor beast can cross. It rises and falls with extraordinary suddenness and intensity..."

Theodore Roosevelt

The power of water is evident throughout the badlands landscape. From the intricate details left by run-off in the soft clay to the large-scale buttes and canyons that dominate the landscape, water plays a continuing role in sculpting the landscape of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The Little Missouri River is the dominant hydrologic feature in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The river flows north from its origins in Wyoming near the Black Hills and the Bighorn Mountains, through all three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and finally to Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River in central North Dakota.

The depth of the river varies widely throughout the year. It usually reaches its peak depth in May and June with the run-off from the spring snow melt, then is reduced to a shallow, meandering stream during the heat of summer. Sudden severe summer thunderstorms also cause occasional rises due to flash flooding.The monitoring stations listed below provide real-time data about the Little Missouri River.


Last updated: August 12, 2017

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Medora, ND 58645


701 623-4466

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