OverviewPaddock Creek Trail
Paddock Creek is a 10.6 mile long trail in the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It follows Paddock Creek connecting Halliday Trailhead to the west to Rim Trail to the east. The park’s main road crosses the trail dividing it into the 3.8 mile long Lower Paddock Creek Trail to the west of the road and the 6.8 mile long Upper Paddock Creek Trail to the east of the road.
Rim Trail sits at the extreme eastern edge of the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It connects Paddock Creek Trail to Talkington Trail. To the east of Rim Trail, flat grasslands stretch into the horizon. To the west, the ground suddenly drops 200 ft to where the badlands suddenly start.
Getting ThereHalliday Trailhead is well marked on the park’s map. See map below.
I did not see a parking area where the road divides Paddock Creek into Upper and Lower sections.
Red line shows Rim Trail. Black line is the correct path for where I went the wrong way.
Paddock Creek TrailAll distances are per my GPS. These are different than what appears on the park’s map. I lost the trail at the end of the section between Painted Canyon and Rim Trails so I used the 3.2 mile distance that appears on the park map.
This is a description of Paddock Creek trail from Halliday trailhead to the junction with Rim Trail. At Halliday Trailhead head east and follow the trail into the hills going through a prairie dog town.
Looking back west at the Little Missouri River Valley.
Paddock Creek. A couple of creek crossings were very muddy.
Lower Paddock Creek Trail ends once you reach the park’s main road.
You will follow Upper Paddock Creek Trail after crossing the road.
Near the junction with Painted Canyon Trail.
Continuing east on the trail.
A plateau can now be seen to the south. Painted Canyon Visitor Center/ Rest Area on I-94 sits on top of this plateau.
The trail then reaches an area of steep hills and begins to climb them.
View from the top of the steep hills.
After reaching a high point, the trail goes down again.
Once I reached the base of a hill, trails seemed to go in every direction. The one that I happened to follow took me out of the badlands to the top of the grassy plateau near I-94. I later realized that I had taken the wrong trail but I was able to hike the edge of the plateau to reach where Upper Paddock Creek Trail came up to the plateau where Rim Trail started.
Looking back into the badlands from the edge of the grassy plateau.
Rim Trail travels the surface of a grassy plateau. To the east, only flat grasslands can be seen. Badlands make good views where the trail reaches the edge of the plateau.