Maah Daah Hey - TRAIL

Maah Daah Hey - Trail, Medora, Dakota

This is one of the finest trails I have ridden. Gently twisting singltrack through a surreal landscape with plenty of climbs and descents. I have only ridden the southern tip of this 100 mile long trail (the part near the town of Medora). The trail headed north out of Medora was well marked in May when I was there but it looked quite primitive (underused). This has probably changed with the summer crowds. The trail headed south was in excellent condition and was well used. This area has the potential to become the next Fruita/Moab. However it's remote location, far from mountains and large cities may prevent it from developing into a full fledged mecca. If you are passing through North Dakota on your way to the mountains do not pass Medora without unloading the mountain bikes and enjoying some teriffic riding.

User Reviews (41)

Showing 1-10 of 41  
kzeiszler   Cross Country Rider [Aug 24, 2011]

I will start out with this trail kicks a**. Beware of summer with lots of Rain they can destroy parts of this trail and we have had lots of them lately. Also I also had a close encounter with a rattle snake in some tall grass i was riding through in the middle of no where. Bring plenty of water and snacks any part of this trail will take you much longer then you think it will. several river/creek crossings and a lack of signage in areas makes this trail seem that much more of an adventure. Love it got to ride it every year at least a part.

Customer Service

cotten wood lope and buffalo gap are good single day ones, besides that just jump from camp site to camp site and have fun

Similar Products Used: Indian village, sleepy hollow in bismarck
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
kevlar1973   Weekend Warrior [Jul 05, 2011]

8 of us headed out to ride 3 of the four legs of this trail supported by the great folks at Dakota Cycle. Dakota was great other then I'm not sure I would trust their opinions on the difficulty of some of the trail sections.

The trail was in pretty rough shape, there was a lot of rain this spring in the area and he it left massive ruts on large sections of trail making for very challenging riding. We did a 10 mile out and back from the Magpie campground, then Elkhorn to Wannagan and Wannagan back to Medora on the Buffalo Gap trail.

First things, the trail was much tougher then expected, this is not rolling terrain at all until the Buffalo Gap section. There is a lot of climbing and it's long and steep especially on the Elkhorn to Wannagan leg. That was also the leg that had the most water damage. There where large portions of the trail that simply was not rideable due to water damage. All 8 of us agreed that the Elkhorn leg was hands down the toughest day we have ever spent on a bike.

Customer Service

The trail needs a lot of work, I might wait a year to see how much work they get done on it before riding it.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
davfan   Cross Country Rider [May 28, 2008]

Up and Down single track(good workout). Remote area. Windy. Well marked. We used Dakota cyclery to support our group ride of the complete trail and it/they were excellent. We got lucky and didn't run into rain. Also we crossed the little Missouri river without needing a shuttle. In our group we had 12 riders with all levels of experience. The trail was challenging for all but well all had great fun.

Customer Service

All of the trail.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
arly   Cross Country Rider [Jan 15, 2007]

After hearing from friends who'd ridden parts of this trail and claimed it was gorgeous, we decided we should get out there and see the Maah Daah Hey ourselves. We arrived with a group of friends and attempted to ride it in 4 days. We thought that since we were experienced and fit MTB riders we'd skip a campground, how much harder could a measly 20 extra miles be? Hate to admit but after riding 30 miles with over 3000 feet of climbing we were spanked so we sagged the remaining distance in. Going that far made the tour more a like a death march than we could appreciate as a vacation. Despite that mistake just as our friends had said we found an incredibly scenic trail crossing a wide variety of terrain. Every bluff we climbed offered a different vista than the one before, in fact the whole trail was surprisingly unpredictable. We'd cross a fairly flat prairie and imagine the trail was going to become a boring grassland, but then we'd drop into another canyon filled with exotic colors. Near Wannagan camp was a petrified forest laid out as if the trees had just fallen. Since we failed to see the trail's entire length during our first trip we retuned a 2nd time and managed to see the entire trail over 5 days largely riding campground to campground. Some of the trail we missed the first time was breathtaking, especially the descents into the Littile Missouri river valleys. If you have the time to ride the whole trail, be sure to ride every mile without missing any segments. Our computers said we did over 120 miles as we rode into Medora. Along the trail we saw the many strange colors of the badlands, fossils, animal life and vegetation, including a hen turkey and her brood of chicks. After out two trips the total number of cyclist we've seen there might be around 8 so we're still wondering why this trial is so underused!! If you care to join us we're planning to ride it again this fall. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=258260
We've also posted a assortment of trail photos at the gallery section here.

Arlyn & Sandy Aronson arlyn@superiortandems.com

Customer Service

All of it

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Andrew   Racer [Nov 28, 2006]

This is the most fun I've had on a mountainbike. Ever. The scenery is breathtaking, the trail is exotic and gets little traffic.

The trail is in a pretty remote area in North Dakota, so BE PREPARED! REALLY!!!! I thought I had enough water, but I ran out just as I got back to my car. It's been very arid in this part of the country, and the land will suck moisture from you even if it's not hot at all.
It's a 30-40 minute drive back to civilization (Medora) and way longer to Dickinson & Bismarck. I was seriously dehydrated on the drive back.

I didn't have any problems, but be prepared for a mechanical. I've heard of people getting lots of flats from thorns. I would not want to walk a bike 15 miles back to the car.

You'll probably find some short & steep sandy climbs, some deep ruts,

I didn't see any, (probably because it was late in the year) but this is also Rattlesnake and Mountain Lion country. There has been one report of cyclists encountering a very aggressive lion. Mace will be in my camelpak on my next ride there.

You will probably ride through some cowpies. Just thought I'd mention that for your foo-foo mtb'ers.

Customer Service

Park at Magpie and do 2 out & backs--convenient for a day trip. One will take you to devil's pass, a ridge with cliffs on either side. To get there, you'll go through some nice pastureland, probably run into a herd of cattle (look out for the bulls) There will be a couple long lung-burning climbs. Be prepared, or get ready to hike-a-bike.


The other direction will take you north. You can take a trail leg to the ice caves: not so scenic, but a notable landmark all the same. Going out that direction seems mostly flat, but when you head back you realize that you've been going out climbing, and you'll be cruising back. Enjoy a little air here & there!

Similar Products Used: Nada.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
iwander   Weekend Warrior [Jul 20, 2006]

This middle-aged lady found the trail very challenging, but a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the spectacular scenery as I took the bike for a nice walk in these very steep hills. It took 5 days to ride most of the trail. I went with a tour group which provided a water refills 3 or 4 times per day, meals, and carried our bags. I've posted photos at www.waywardpoints.com

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
leadville   Cross Country Rider [Jul 12, 2005]

Grew up in North Dakota and, after 8 years of riding in Colorado, thought I should check out the premier trail in the "Old Country". Unfortunately, we picked the two hottest days of the year where the temp hovered on either side of 100 degrees. Nevertheless, the riding was awesome and already planning the next trip. This is a great singletrack that is 99% rideable. Just a few things to add to other posted reviews: *Beware of the rattlesnakes at the Magpie Campground. I got the warning rattle as I was heading to my sleeping bag and met a young feller about eight feet from my pillow. Spent the night, comfortably, sleeping atop the picnic table. Best to bring a tent... *It's been a very wet year by NoDak standards and the Little Missouri was not crossable by our SAG vehicle (FS Road 712) near mile 45 on the trail. Water was knee deep (and had come down in recent days) so check on river height ahead of time if you've got vehicle support.

Customer Service

We started just north of the Bennett Camp Trailhead off of the road through Lang's Ranch so we made sure we got in the China Wall section. Lots of clumped up, dried out cow hoofprints in this section makes for tough going, especially on a hardtail. South of Bennett's it smoothed out a bit and we got rolling. We made it to Magpie and five hours and think this is a pretty good ETA, but never thought it would take five hours to cover 25 miles anywhere. We started here because it was the northernly most point where we could avoid the north unit of Theodore Roosovelt N.P. where riding, technically, is off limits. Glad we did as we met two riders at Magpie who tried to circumvent the park and ended up in a box canyon out of water. DO NOT take the well worn path along the park boundary fence. There may be other ways but can't speak to them.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
firedudecndn   Cross Country Rider [May 25, 2005]

Basically one of the best trails anywhere in its class. I've done all or parts of it 4 times now. This year I rode on semi slicks and the only time I could have used knobbies was on the high speed descents. Otherwise the lower rolling resistance was welcomed. Like everyone says, stay away when it's wet, you will not be able to ride it. We usually camp at Magpie, the best site of all the campsites and you can ride out in either direction from there. Devil's pass and China Wall are both worth riding out to. The ice caves are cool too. The trail is well marked and well documented on the web and with the available map from US forest service. Bring toilet paper and lots of water. I managed to get digital cell service from the highest points. Most locals are pretty friendly and there are a couple of them who run "lodges" out there. We've used one of them and you can contact me for his contact information if you like. Kick azz trail, worth driving 500 miles from Winnipeg for, no question.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
ZR2915   Weekend Warrior [Oct 24, 2004]

This trail kicked my ass! Im in good shape, but after biking this I was just dead. I rode 11.5 miles-in and back from the CCC campground on the north end. The first few miles are mostly up hill climbing the plateaus(?) and then "levels" off once you get to the elkhorn ranch site. There were absolutely beautiful views and hard riding. Some of the uphill parts on the trail requires getting off your bike and pushing it up because the dirt is too clumpy and cows use alot of the same path. It was quite windy and very dry so pack alot of water. I had a camelback and a water bottle with was good for me. Also dont forget the energy bars!

Customer Service

I started at the CCC campground and the only was to go from there is south.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
jensen_53   Cross Country Rider [Oct 23, 2004]

Maah Daah Hey! Being fairly new to mountain bike riding, I wans't sure what to expect on my first outing to this trail. A friend and I went for a three day trek on this trail, I need to mention we are both 50 years old and average to above average riders. We rode the entire trail over three trips to the area. There are some moderate parts and there are some tough parts. The mix between technical and casual is perfect. You need to be in fairly good condition, have a good mountain bike that's light and have good tires. As all other reports mention, take plenty of water and remember to eat along the way. Be very alert to the wheather as you CAN NOT ride in the betonite in any amount of rain. This is really true, pay close attention to this. We rode with two riders buy I think three or more would be best. Don't bother to bring a cell phone on the trail as it will not work. You are truelly out in the middle of some of the most beautiful country in the USA. Amazing views and great trail. Surprisingly we saw very little wildlife. Deer, antelope, horned toads, raptors etc. No snakes on the trail at all though we saw two on the gravel roads. You can self shuttle or use a service out of Medora. Contact Jennifer at the Medora bike shop for maps and more data. Oh yeah, you must have a map and feel comfortable that the trail is superbly marked. We only got lost three times and they were always by river / creek crossings. Take the time to spot the posts on the other side. Great trail and I will ride it again. The campgrounds are about every 18 - 25 miles and are very nice. Magpie has trees and the others are open. They are fenced and all have pump water and vault toilets.

Customer Service

CCC to Bennett has two tough climbs and is a good ride to start with. Remember you can't go thru the park. Contact Bernie Lang for arrangements on his land. The Bennett to Magpie is my favorite. About 25 miles and a good mix of ups, downs and general riding. Magpie to Elk Horn is very nice. The Devils Pass is very neat and the river crossing is fun. Bring a tire tool to scrape the mud after your crossing. Also a good mix of climbs and general riding. The ride into Elkhorn is really neat because of the 250 foot cliff just before you drop into camp. Elkhorn to Wannagon is the toughest stretch of the 115 miles. Many tough climbs and great rides down. Be in good condition for this stretch and pick a good day. You'll need all of your strength here. Wannagon to Buffalo Gap is alot of fun. Some ups and downs and then you turn off the MDH trail onto the Buffalo Gap trail to again avoid the park. Once on the Gap trail, you can actually get into the second ring gear and really put on the miles. Pay close attention at the ground squirrel patch as you have to ride thru it and then turn up hill to the right. DO not go straight South here! Remember, thru the patch and up the hill to the right.

Similar Products Used: Buffalo Gap to Sullys is the conclusion of the trail and this is a great mix of moderate ups and other wonderful riding.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 41  

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