What a view: New point-to-point hiking trail to debut in Medora

A soon to be opened hiking trail, the Pancratz Trail, is built into the butte that overlooks Medora. The one-and-a-half mile route offers 728 feet of elevation change and a fabulous view of the town below.

The view of Medora from the Pancratz Trail. (Photo courtesy of Tim Olson /TRMF)

"When you play, play hard."

Theodore Roosevelt is well known and beloved for his many notable mottos and quotes, but the call to "play hard" is one that still resonates across the buttes surrounding his beloved Medora. Now, visitors to the Badlands gem and tourist attraction town will soon be able to see Medora from a new vantage point on the all new Pancratz Trail.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for Pancratz Trail will be held Thursday, June 24th at 4:15 p.m. at the trailhead just off Sixth Street in Medora.

Roosevelt, who was known favorite strenuous life activities, enjoyed Point to Point Hikes — the fast-paced walks through the woods, cliffs and streams with one rule: whatever obstacle lie ahead, you must never go around, but always navigate over, under or right through it.

Roosevelt loved leading his hiking parties on these Point to Point adventures through the outdoors—from his own children to military officers and foreign diplomats—many of them fondly remembering them as a testament to TR's vigor for life.


The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) and the Medora Chamber of Commerce would like to invite one and all to a special ceremony to celebrate the completion of the all new Pancratz Trail — a brand-new hiking trail built into the butte that overlooks Medora.

The one-and-a-half mile route offers 728 feet of elevation change with the accompanying fabulous views of the town below.

The trail features three segments that dare hikers to test their mettle on difficulties ranging from easy, to moderate and finally, advanced segments.

"The brand-new Pancratz Trail at Point to Point Park is purpose-built, connecting right to downtown Medora, so that visitors and community members can connect in yet another way to Theodore Roosevelt's time in the Badlands," Justin Fisk, chief marketing and strategy officer for TRMF, said. "We hope that some of those trail users feel a similar spark that he did all those years ago in beautiful North Dakota."

The Pancratz Trail was made possible through a generous donation from Linda Pancratz and her daughter Lizzy. Pancratz is an alumna of the University of North Dakota, the CEO and chairwoman of Mountain Capital and a member of the TRMF Board of Directors.

"Our family was excited by the opportunity to create trails that connect hikers young and old to Teddy Roosevelt's love of the great outdoors, to explore the beauty of the Badlands and the 'strenuous life,'" Pancratz said. "This new trail is a free, easy-to-access, one-of-a-kind experience that can be enjoyed by visitors from around the world and by school kids just down the block in Medora."

Pancratz Trail is another completed part of TRMF's Point to Point Park project.

In 2020, a brand-new 18-hole mini golf course, Little Bully Pulpit, opened along with Manitou the Zipline, a ride named for TR's horse in Dakota Territory. Both attractions received overwhelmingly enthusiastic receptions from visitors, and early signs show the same for the first phase of Pancratz Trail.


Speakers, members of the TRMF Board of Directors and Staff, as well as local officials will be on hand and available following the ribbon cutting event. held in Medora on June 24th. The ceremony will be held at Pancratz Trail, just off 6th Street in Medora on Thursday, June 24 at 4:15 p.m.

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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