Little Missouri National Grassland 

Little Missouri National Grassland, part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, is a 1-million-acre grassland, which is the largest in the country. Within its borders is the far more famous Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but Little Missouri has its own share of magical outdoor destinations.

One such site is Initial Rock, also known as Name Rock, where Gen. George Custer and his men stopped on their way to what became the Battle of the Little Bighorn (oftentimes referred to as Custer’s Last Stand). Two of those men, W.C. Williams and F. Neely, carved their names into the rock. A cage-like shelter was erected over the rock back in the 1960s to prevent further weathering and vandalism. 

Photo by Cory Enger/U.S. Forest Service (

Those who visit Initial Rock can travel a bit further south to stay the night at Burning Coal Vein Campground, which offers scenic views, a quick 2-mile drive to the Little Missouri River and access to the Maah Daah Hey Trail via the Juniper Spur Trailhead. 

The Maah Daah Hey Trail, which runs 142.3 miles north to south through the grassland, offers backpackers the solitude they crave. It would also give visitors a near-complete picture of the Little Missouri National Grassland.