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October Solo Visit TRNP

Portland, OR
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4,786 posts
53 reviews
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October Solo Visit TRNP

I am an adventuresome solo female traveler taking a road trip from Portland, OR with a visit to TRNP. This is part of my 50 by 50 trip (50 states before 50 years old) that will include western SD and also Grand Teton NP. I am well traveled, accustomed to camping even in freezing weather and I will be well outfitted for a variety of climates. I know that the weather can be a mixed bag but I will trust my luck that there may be great weather and may be able to camp at Cottonwood.

In case I encounter foul weather, I am researching budget accommodations and someone at the park suggested Custer's Cottage. While checking that out, I also noticed that they have Wooly Wagons that people can rent out. These look very cool and appeal to my adventuresome side! I read the mixed reviews of Custer's Cottage and one rave reviews about the wagons. I would love to hear from others who have stayed here!

Other than these options, are there other budget accommodations that would offer a clean, quiet room? I don't need fancy, just a clean bed. I read a very old forum post about the train noise not being an issue in Medora but nothing recent. For others who have recently stayed in Medora, can you provide an update? I am also not tied to staying in Medora. If there is a cool place somewhere else with easy access to the park, please let me know, keeping in mind that my budget is a camping budget but if it snows I will need shelter.

I would also like to be able to go to a bar/pub at night to have a cold beer or two but that is also not necessary if I find the ideal place to stay for a night or two.

Being that this will be within the first 2 weeks of October, I will also not be booking ahead, trusting my luck that there will be availability in several suitable places. I have been reading that with the oil boom it can be difficult to find accommodations in the north but is it also that way in the south?

I will spend a day or two exploring the park, depending on how much time I spend in the other areas during my trip. I plan on doing some hiking so would love suggestions on the best scenery for a 2-3 hour hike.

Thanks!

Saint Paul...
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1. Re: October Solo Visit TRNP

The gateway town, Medora, gets really quiet after Labor Day. You'll have limited selection for restaurants and bars (if even one will be open in Medora - you might have to go to Belfield or maybe even Dickinson).

That said, you'll have the park pretty much to yourself if you're there midweek in early October.

Doubt you'll have to worry too much about foul weather in October. Don't get winter storms before mid November, sometimes December. Can get a bit chilly, but you said you're prepared for that.

I like hiking out on the Petrified Forest Trail but that requires going on gravel roads to a relatively obscure trailhead. Talk to the rangers if you're interested in seeing the wild horses as you hike and they'll give you better advice on which trail to go. The Maah Daah Hey Trail goes thru the park and you could do an out and back.

You'll be driving in a pretty unpopulated area if you're going up US85 from SD to get to TRNP. Fill up the gas tank when you can. Bear Butte, SD, SP is on the way. You'll pass an interesting formation called Slim Buttes and Castles National Landmark on your way right before ND (both so obscure you'll have difficulty finding out anything about them on the web). You'll also pass White Butte in ND where you can hike to highest point in the state - on private property so follow instructions. And, since you will be hiking Harney Peak in SD while you're there, you'll be able to add two state high points to your list of adventure accomplishments.

Portland, OR
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4,786 posts
53 reviews
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2. Re: October Solo Visit TRNP

Thanks for the reply David! Looks like there are not a lot of posts on the ND forum so I was wondering if I would get any responses.

So, Medora may be completely deserted with nothing open the second week in October? I don't mind having some great solo hikes but I was hoping to find a place to socialize in the evening. I may just have to get that out of my system in WY and SD!

Thanks again.

Saint Paul...
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260 posts
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3. Re: October Solo Visit TRNP

It won't be completely deserted but it does become a sleepy small western town after the main season. There are folks that do live there but it's only a few hundred year round and maybe, with the oil boom nearby, a few more.

Edited: 31 May 2014, 22:45
4. Re: October Solo Visit TRNP

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