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About the Maah Daah Hey Trail


There are many things you should know before you head out to ride your section of the MDH Trail, whether it's a day ride, the whole trail, or even the whole trail in a day! 





Heads Up! USFS Trail Regulations
A Brief History of the MDH

The name Maah Daah Hey comes from the Native American language of the Mandan Hidatsa Indians and Tribal member Gerard Baker developed this name for the trail. In the Mandan language, one word or phrase can describe a picture, feeling, or situation. In this case, the phrase means "grandfather, long-lasting". It is used to describe things or an area that has been or will be around for a long time and is deserving of respect. 


The Maah Daah Hey trail corridor has been used for hundreds of years by the Native Americans and then later by the frontier army as a source of escape and pursuit.


The official symbol of the MDH is the turtle. For the Lakota Indians, the turtle symbolizes patience, determination, steadfastness, long-life and fortitude. All of which you will need along your journey!


The original 96 miles of the MDH was the of the Little Missouri National Grasslands and had its ribbon cutting in July of 1998 after nearly 30 years of vision and planning. By 2001 the MDH made IMBA's list of Epic Rides. The new additional 48 miles of the Southern portion (or the Duece as some call it) was official in the summer of 2014.


All trail segments are administered by the US Forest Service which is the Little Missouri National Grasslands in these parts.






  • All sections of the Maah Daah Hey trails are closed to all types of motorized vehicles. This is a multi use trail and we share it with hikers and equestrians.

  • Bicycles are not allowed on the Maah Daah Hey trail where it passes through Theodore Roosevelt National Park (due to the Wilderness Act). The one mile through the North Unit poses the biggest issue for cyclists, as there is no "official" bypass. We recommend starting your 100 mile adventure at Bennett Camp for this reason. The Buffalo Gap Trail is the alternative route around the South Unit park boundary for cyclists, adding 10 more miles. Please respect the designated Wilderness areas of the National Park!

  • Camping is prohibited on private and state land.

  • Law of the West - close any gates that you open.

  • Stock users must use weed seed free hay or feed in order to reduce the risk of exotic/noxious plant introduction.

  • Artifacts and other cultural features are protected by Federal Law. DO NOT COLLECT OR DISTURB.

  • Leave No Trace! Pack out all trash and other materials. Burying trash is prohibited.

  • Do NOT wash dishes or use detergents in water sources (including water pumps at campsites).  This goes for personal hygene, stinky.

  • For proper sanitation make toilets in a shallow hole 200 feet or more from camp, water sources, and trail. Or use the vault toilets at the the campgrounds which are every 20-25 miles along the trail. Pack your own t.p. just in case.

  • For your safety, DO NOT APPROACH OIL AND GAS FACILITIES; poison gases may be present.

  • Users must stay on the trail when crossing private and state land. In fact, make that all the time. Keep the singletrack single.

Everyone loves the way the hinged Maah Daah Hey gates work - lift up and let go once you're through!

 Dakota Cyclery is a parter with the U.S. Forest Service and is an equal opportunity employer. 

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