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Level: Intermediate
Length: 100 mi (160.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +3,988/4 ft
Total: 90 riders

Mountain Biking Maah Daah Hey

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#1 of 35 mountain bike trails in North Dakota
#92 in the world

This trail absolutely rocks!!! I rode the entire thing the summer of 2003 in an epic trip that lasted five days. Granted you do not have to ride the entire trail to enjoy the picturesque riding which includes high plateaus, drainages, gullies, washouts, prairie, and plenty of winding single track to connect it all. Throw some absolutely killer climbs and long decents in the mix and whalla!!! Thats the trail in a nutshell. Every aspect of riding in one epic journey. While the trail is not overly technical it is not heavily traveled and the views make up for the lack of extremely technical riding. Do not attempt to ride this trail if it wet. It takes about ten feet for the mud to build up so much that the tires dont roll and the bike becomes about 20 pounds heavier. I rode for five days in the middle of summer and only saw three other riders besides my riding buddies. Take plenty of water, spare tubes (there's lots of cactus), and be prepared for a nice long ride. ENJOY!!!!

First added by BaneGoorb on Nov 5, 2004. Last updated May 6, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
This trial starts or ends at the northern and southern units of Theodore National Park. The best place for directions is to go to Medora and visit Dakota Cyclery which is located by all the shops downtown. Its a small town so the shop isn't hard to find. Just ask for a map and the best sections of trail to currently ride. The people there are great and they'll get you on the right track. This trail runs /- 100 miles between Medora and the CCC Campground 15 miles south of Watford City, ND. Grassy Butte and Fairfield/So. Fairfield are intermediate towns along US Hwy 85 with access to trailheads.
System trails (2)
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Maah Daah Hey Trail map

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motoscotch (on Sep 5, 2019)
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Dusty (on Sep 5, 2019)
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Maah Daah Hey videos

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Biking the Maah Daah Hey: RU…
MAAH DAAH HEY Trail in Medora,…
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Medora, North Dakota

Intermediate | 15 mi

Rider questions

Q: How many bikers do the 100

Q: is there a drinking water source
A: There are 4 water caches along the Maah Daah Hey trail. You can see where they are on this map: http://mdhta.com/trail-guide/ There are also 4 caches along The Duece Trail (southern extension of the Maah Daah Hey trail).

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  • [email protected]

    Love this trail. Miles and miles of peaceful, rugged scenery. I've covered about half of the total 140 miles

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  • Matt Pollard

    Two of us rode from Beicegel creek north to the wilderness then south to elk horn, then back to beicegel in a day. Our route took us north on the main mdh to the wilderness boundary, then we did the loop to bennet cg. From there we (mistakenly) took cottonwood Trail to the mdh. Avoid the cottonwood trail- not maintained, overgrown and generally awful. South of beicegel creek you quickly get into a network of cow trails- this was easily the worst part of the trail. Lame. It was punctuated with cows, cow crap, poor trail bed, ticks and scars from a recent oil pipeline install. It was not pretty, and not flowey.

    Some things to watch for-we didn't find the bypass around the wilderness so unexpectedly ended up at the 'no bikes' gate; would have been nice to have some better trail signage. Apparently you have to ride into bennet creek campground for Trail info.

    Also- limited water. There was no water in the caches, though we did leave some At Beicegel creek.

    I'd skip this trail. Do the deuce- make it into a loop by biking the gravel roads back to Medora.

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  • CFM   ✓ supporter

    Only rode about 20 miles of the trail near Medora but thoroughly enjoyed it. This well built trail winds through the badlands with constant climbs and descents. Signage is great. You will have to negotiate a number of gates along the way and some sections are showing signs of heavy usage. I hope to come back and do more of this trail in the near future.

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  • CFM   ✓ supporter
    Reviewing Bully Pulpit:

    We obtained a shuttle from Dakota Cyclery in Medora to the Plumely Draw trailhead and rode the trail to Sully Creek State Park. From there we took the road back into town. The trail was well laid out with amazing views of the badlands. Some sections wound through cedar thickets so there is shade occasionally. Good mix of climbing and descending. Nice views of the Little Missouri at the State Park.

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  • norsemen

    Amazing scenery and a fairly easy ride that is only hampered by two things, the weather and when you finally get into a flow, having to stop in order to raise the livestock gates every mile or so if you are near bully pulpit.... all in all, would definitely do again.

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  • bully777

    Great trail - 150 miles of continuous singletrack!

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  • mtbark

    We were only in town for a day and wanted to get a ride in so we headed out to the part of MAAH DAAH Hey called the Duece and made a loop out of it. As far as the trail goes I was not overly impressed with it lots of up and down and you usually had to bleed off speed before starting another climb. To me it would be better if they had made the flow of the trail a little smoother and incorporated more of the hills out there. Ridding the flat sections were rather boring. We never ran across anything technical per say on the trail. Some of the climbs are bit steep but short. It was pretty scenic with some really cool rock formations but other then that to me it was just not that spectacular.

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  • lwickstr

    Something for everybody, but due to the climbing, and the fact that sections are very remote, be prepared. It is possible to do a loop on the Duece section. I love the whole trail, however the section between Bully Pulpit and Plumly are my favorite. Riding from Medora up the Buffalo Gap can be a sweet out and back, or you can come back on the road to make a loop. Shuttle's are available and worth the cost. Some parts can be technical, due to exposure, erosion, and or wash outs. Lots of good climbing, with some tight switchbacks. Great fun, and very entertaining

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  • AdrianMeacham

    Rode most of this trail (and bits of a couple others) as part of a Western Spirit tour in early September, 2012. One of our guides had come out a couple weeks prior to ride back and forth on the system and check out some of the new sections and reroutes. They put together a course where we averaged ~25 miles/day and had a blast doing so. Expect lots of repeated elevation changes, livestock encounters, getting lost if you don't watch for the turtles in the distance. As a Clydesdale, the climbs were rough, but the full-sus FSR I brought ate the downhills for breaky. Total exposure -- no trees. Lots of dust. Bring lots of water, have lots of fun!

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  • Jason_Kahn

    I did this trail in 2002 and it was awesome! The only time I hit 40 mph on a trail. Great scenery and a real adventure. The only downside is you needed to shuttle everything they had, with few exceptions. Perhaps they have addressed that. Plus you get to see where Teddy R. made history and the only place I've seen wild horses.

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  • craig12383864

    First things first. Finding the North end is not as hard as most of the directions you see. Go South from Watford City on Hwy 85 about 20 miles. When you cross the Little Missouri River going South turn right immedately on South end of bridge. Go 1/2 mile to trail head--road ends--can't miss it. That being said, ride this trail! You will love it, however, it is not Moab or Fruita. It's good but not as good as the above. Trail is a little rough in areas and a little hard to follow in other areas. Watch for the post with the 45 degree cut on the top. I rode the first 8 miles of this trail by myself--Not a great idea. It is remote and rugged. I carry a "SPOT" just in case. Highly recommended on this trail.* Review edited 5/12/2012

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  • stumpyfsr   ✓ supporter

    If you have a mountain bike and wanna ride it off-road, Maah Daah Hey is the perfect place. This is not your everyday fast-rolling singletrack. Northern part is less ridden and you'll need to put double power to roll on that soft soil. Southern half is more compressed and miles going faster.
    I rode the whole thing from Bennett Camp to Medora in 4 days. No flats, no breakdowns except for chainsuck due to chain needed lube badly. Scenery is amazing, trail is not technical but challenging because of long climbs and unpredictable weather. If its wet, its not ridable. Wind could be so strong that it's almost impossible to ride. Lots of wildlife to watch.
    And navigation is easy from post to post. Some parts of trail was washed out, which is probably normal for this rainy period.
    It was physically and mentally tough solo trip for me but memories will last forever. I will ride it again with lighter gear for sure. And thanks Loran and Jennifer from Dakota Cyclery for help and support.
    A must ride for everyone

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  • nespencer

    This trail was definitely not built for, nor made for, mountain biking. It is extremely narrow and all of us hit both sides with our pedals. Instead, we had to make our own trail by riding on the grass on either side of the trail, which is not the eco-friendly thing to do. The climbs were mostly easy and not a lot of aerobic capacity is needed. We had fun apres-ride but the trail was very difficult, not fun, scary for some, and I cannot recommend it. Dakota Cyclery did a great job of transporting our gear from place to place. The only good thing about this trail (not even part of the trail) was the Buffalo Gap trail-LOTS of fun.* Review edited 9/28/2011

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  • atomica67

    100 miles of single track through the North Dakota Badlands. Sweeping vistas, canyons and plateaus.
    Bring water and slime tubes or self healing tire systems. Be aware that it is illegal to ride through the National Grasslands (theodore roosevelt grasslands)

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  • brgstrm

    Everything in the previous reviews are correct. Awesome ride for sure. I did this in Sept. with a large group of mixed abilities. 5 days of riding and covered over 100 miles. Below average fitness or little riding experience will force you to be in the saddle 6-8 hours per day if you do the whole trail as I did. Many people in that situation will not enjoy the scenery or the overall experience.

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  • el_cap

    Just returned from a 4 day trip. Started @ the bennett campground and rode the cottonwood trail to the main maah dah hey trail. This 7 mile section was hardly ridden as you almost had to bushwack parts of the trail. The toughest part of the trail due to lots of climbing and the poor trail condition: it was either bushwacking or really hard/not flat trail. Rode to magpie the 1st day (25 miles), then to Elkhorn (20 miles, my favorite), to wannigan (22 miles) and on the last day due to rain, we drove to buffalo gap and made the ride shorter (12 miles) for a total of 79 miles in 4 days. Not overly technical but be prepared for a fair amount of short climbing. The trail isn't ridden a lot so its not in great condition; grass overgrowing, hard ground, not flat, tons of cow pie, which made moving slower but scenery was good. Only saw 1 other the 1st day about 30 minutes into the ride. Saw no one else in the campgrounds either. Great ride, the only downside is trail conditions.

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  • John Fisch

    This place is really astonishing considering you're in the middle of thousands of square miles of completely flat terrain. The badlands provide an oasis of scenery and vertical relief in an otherwise endlessly bland expanse. There are even some great, sustained climbs. Being prairie, however, there's no rocks and nothing more technical than an occasional switchback. The scenery's great if you like erosion and the singletrack can be fun, especially if you like dodging cowpies. Parts of the trail are VERY remote, so be self sufficient--bring plenty of food, water, and know how to fix a flat (lots of cactus). There's no cover; you're exposed to the sun at all times, so beware of hot days.

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  • Redding

    This trail is incredible! 5 others and I went to see what it was all about and we were astounded! In a nutshell; 6 guys, 3 days, 68 miles, unbelievable scenery, fast downhills, painful climbs, 1 flat tire and pretzled rim, 13 total "countable" biffs, no major injuries, and an outstanding experience. We all plan to try the 5 day - 98 mile trip in 2006. There will be some photos posted soon. Try it - but make sure that you are in shape and don't donate blood 2 days before you go. (really stupid mistake!)

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