From North to South through Bowman

From North to South through Bowman

Your Guide to North Dakota’s Best Kept Secrets


Burning Coal Vein, Maah Daah Hey Trail, White Butte, Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, Bowman Haley Dam, Cave Hills


Spend part of your trip enjoying Bowman and all it has to offer. Whether your looking for a bite to eat, local shops, entertainment, and more – it’s all waiting for you in Bowman!

Stop 1: Maah Daah Hey Trail

Enjoy mountain biking, hiking, or horseback riding


The Maah Daah Hey trail is the longest single-track mountain biking route in the United States. This 144 mile trail unit showcases majestic plateaus, jagged peaks and valleys, large expanses of prairie, and rivers that can be enjoyed by biking, hiking, or horseback riding. There are 16 trailheads in total, one of which is located inside Burning Coal Vein Campground on the west of the campground. The Burning Coal Vein trailhead is located 15 miles west and north of Amidon and the trail travels north through the south and north units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri National Grassland.


Printable Directions

Stop 2: Burning Coal Vein

Enjoy a hike in unique badlands scenery


Burning Coal Vein is a badlands landscape still in the making. The fire smoldering in the coal layer several feet underground was burning when viewed by the first settlers in the area over a hundred years ago. Burning Coal Vein and is part of Little Missouri National Grassland’s natural area with adjoining campground.

The underground fire is no longer active, but local landscape features and columnar Rocky Mountain juniper (cedar) bear witness to the effects of the continuous smoke of past years.


Burning Coal Vein campground has 8 sites, each with it’s own picnic table and a fire ring with a grill. The campground also has a handicap accessible toilet and potable water from a well with a hand pump. It is a great place to start your adventure hiking or backpacking with its location being the southernmost trailhead to the Maah Daah Hey Trail.


Printable Directions

Stop 3: White Butte

Hike to the top of the highest point in North Dakota and take in the great views


Located on Highway 85, north of Bowman, White Butte is North Dakota’s highest natural point at 3,506 feet overlooking the Little Missouri National Grassland. You can hike year round, but some of the best times are in the spring. Enjoy the beauty of the nearby scenery, native flowers and grass, and the stillness of nature. White Butte may not be the most strenuous hike you conquer, but it will definitely be one of the most memorable ones. The trail offers numerous activities and amazing photo opportunities. When you get to the top, don’t forget to sign the guest book! White Butte is surrounded by private land, so please be respectful.


Printable Directions

Stop 4: Pioneer Trails Regional Museum

Learn more about local history and the expansive fossil collection of the area


Pioneer Trails Regional Museum is a family-friendly museum that brings history to life and a must see part of your visit to Bowman County. The museum is a regional research and repository for history from within 100 miles of Bowman, ND. Learn about the local area through story telling brought to life in educational exhibits. Send the kids through the museum with an interactive scavenger hunt to engage them while they are learning. If an even more hands-on approach is your idea of fun, sign up for a Dig-for-a-Day Tour to collect fossils and explore the local geology. After time in the field, you will return to the preparation lab to learn more about what happens after fossils are found. In the middle of dinosaur country, this well curated museum will not disappoint. Open year round.

Stop 5: Bowman Haley Dam

Launch your boat, paddle your kayak, or cast a line at this year-round recreational haven


Bowman Haley Dam is Bowman County’s largest body of water. Amenities and 17 miles of shoreline make for a year-round recreational haven. Electrical Campsites, seasonal Marina, boat ramp, and shelters.

Boating and fishing are top activities for visitors to Bowman Haley. Variety is available in your possible catches with Bluegill, Brown Trout, Muskie, Northern Pike, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, White Bass or Yellow Perch taking up residence in the dam. If you don’t have your pole in the water, you might be enjoying water skiing or tubing on the lake.


Electrical camping sites can be reserved by contacting the Marina 701-275-6316 and are $15 per night or primitive camping is available you just need to register at the Marina. There are primitive bathrooms available year-round and full bathrooms during business hours of marina.

Stop 6: Cave Hills – North Unit

Hike, drive, hammock, or camp on these beautiful sandstone capped buttes covered in pine trees


The Cave Hills are a pair of expansive buttes in far northwestern South Dakota capped in sandstone and covered in pine trees. The North and South Unit of the Cave Hills are divided by Bull Creek. The North Cave Hills are the most popular and were also home to uranium mines in the mid-1900s. To this day, reclamation efforts are still happening in the Cave Hills and making way for better road access for you to navigate the area with ease. The Cave Hills are part of Custer National Forest and are maintained by USDA Forest Service.


Whether you are looking for a short or long hike, a beautiful drive, a gorgeous hammocking location, or a weekend camping in beautiful scenery, the Cave Hills will not disappoint. Camping is available at the Picnic Spring Campground on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are 8 primitive sites with toilet access, non-potable water, and a 14 day limit. With enough research and searching you may find the hidden gem of the North Cave Hills, Ludlow Cave, which is known for its petroglyphs.



Printable Directions

Take in more of North Dakota’s Beauty

Lengthen your stay be spending the night in Bowman and going on Pioneer Trails Regional Museum’s Paleo Site Tour for a day.



(701) 523-5880
13 1/2 E Divide
PO Box 1143
Bowman, ND 58623


Monday – Friday
8 am – 5 pm MT
(Closed on legal holidays)