Big Plateau Trail & Mike Auney Trail

Page Type
Route
Location:
North Dakota, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall
Difficulty:
Hike

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Big Plateau Trail & Mike Auney Trail
Created On: Nov 5, 2016
Last Edited On: Oct 27, 2017

Overview

Big Plateau Trail

Big Plateau Trail branches off of Maah Daah Hey Trail on top of a grassy plateau. It heads southeast and quickly drops 140 ft to a lower plateau that houses a big prairie dog town. It then continues in a southeasterly direction to the edge of the lower plateau where it drops another 270 ft to cross Little Missouri River (no bridge, you must ford the river). The trail ends at Peaceful Valley on the banks of the river near the park main road.




Mike Auney Trail

Mike Auney Trail branches off of Maah Daah Hey Trail on top of a grassy plateau (0.6 miles to the north of Big Plateau Trail). It heads northeast going to the edge of the plateau where it drops 470 ft to reach Little Missouri River. After crossing the river (no bridge, you must ford the river), the trail goes up the hills on the east side of the river 150 vertical feet or so to end at Roundup Horse Camp Trailhead.

Getting There

Peaceful Valley Trailhead gives access to Big Plateau Trail. It is well marked on the park’s main road (see map).

Roundup Horse Camp Trailhead gives access to Mike Auney Trail. From Park’s main road, turn north onto East River Road (a well graded dirt road) and go a little more than a mile to reach Roundup Horse Camp Road. When I was in the area, the gate on Horse Camp Road was actually closed with a sign saying open for group reservations only (see map, I actually hiked the road as part of a long one way hike on many trails in the park). The trailhead is 1.1 miles from this gate.



Big Plateau Trail

All distances are per my GPS.

Place
Elevation
Distance
Junction with Maah Daah Hey Trail
2700 ft
zero miles
Peaceful Valley on the banks of Little Missouri River
2250 ft
2.30 miles




Big Plateau Trail branches off of Maah Daah Hey Trail on top of a grassy plateau and goes down roughly 150 vertical feet to a lower plateau.

Going down the plateau
Big Plateau Trail


The lower plateau houses a large prairie dog town.

Prairie DogsPrairie dogs
The big plateauBig Plateau


The trail then reaches the edge of the lower plateau and goes down a hilly area.

Going down to the river
going down to the river


Little Missouri River. When I crossed the river in September of 2016, it was knee deep. At times of high water, the river may be deeper making the crossing difficult. Check with park service. On the east side of the river, the trail goes a short distance to end at Peaceful Valley parking area.

Little Missouri RiverFording Little Missouri River
Fording Little Missouri RiverFording Little Missouri River


Wild TurkeyWild Turkey


Mike Auney Trail

All distances are per my GPS.

Place
Elevation
Distance
Junction with Maah Daah Hey Trail
2700 ft
zero miles
Little Missouri River
2230 ft
1.85 miles
Roundup Horse Camp
2370 ft
1.25 miles
Total One Way
-
3.10 miles




Mike Auney Trail branches off of Maah Daah Hey Trail on top of a grassy plateau. For the first half mile or so, the trail remains on top of the plateau. A beaten path may not be seen but you can follow wood posts that mark the trail. At the edge of the plateau, the trail becomes apparent.

Mike Auney Trail
Mike Auney Trail


The trail goes into the hills and ultimately drops more than 450 vertical feet to reach Little Missouri River.

Mike Auney Trail
Mike Auney Trail
Mike Auney Trail
Mike Auney Trail

Mike Auney Trail


This guy stared at me from a distance.

Deer? Elk?


Little Missouri River. When I crossed the river in September of 2016, it was knee deep. At times of high water, the river may be deeper making the crossing difficult. Check with park service.

Fording Little Missouri RiverFording Little Missouri River
Fording Little Missouri RiverFording Little Missouri River


On the east side of the river, the trail goes up the hills to end at Roundup Horse Camp Trailhead.

Looking Back at the valley of Little Missouri River
Mike Auney Trail
Mike Auney Trail
Mike Auney Trail



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