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Maah Daah Hey Trail – Run Ultramarathon Here?!?

How about a trail running race in the great state of North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota, one of the 50 states of the United States. Some may call it Dakota (wrong), that place up north, or huh.

Where would you possibly want to run an ultramarathon in that country of North Dakota?

One word – Badlands! More specifically the Maah Daah Hey trail.

The Maah Daah Hey trail is a 96 mile point-to-point trail within the Badlands. (map)

The trail traverses an area of highly dissected badlands surrounded by large expanses of gently rolling prairie.

Elevation Information

The trail rollers between 2000 and 2700 feet for the entire ~100 miles. The largest climbs are between 400-500 feet. If starting from the north end of the trail and running 100 miles into Medora there would be about four climbs in this range.

Check out the entire trails elevation profile I found over on 2Pedal. (The top profile starts from the south end of the trail. – Medora area)


Here is a cool video of a running tour company (Adventure Running Co.) that ran the entire trail over 5 days. This looks epic!

Maah Daah Hey Trail Run 2009 from Andy Holak on Vimeo.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

What do you think?

Lodging / Race Headquarters

Lodging and race headquarters would be at the southern end of the trail in the small family friendly touristy town of Medora.


The largest international airport in the area would probably be Minneapolis, MN. From there, another ~8 hour drive to Medora. It would be all interstate driving. A real easy drive.

Other smaller airports in the area:

  • Bismarck, ND (~2 more hours by car)
  • Rapid City, SD (~4 more hours by car)
  • Billings, MT (~4 more hours by car)

Race Format

Some options:

  • 100 mile: Point-to-point by busing runners up to the northern point and then finish back at Medora.
  • 100 mile: 50 mile out-and-back starting in Medora.
  • 50 mile or 50 km: Out-and-back starting in Medora.

I have no idea on all the logistics but it looks like it could be a pretty amazing experience.

Would you be interested in an trail running race here?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

One Response to “Maah Daah Hey Trail – Run Ultramarathon Here?!?”

  1. on 23 Mar 2013 at 9:44 pm Nancy Davidson

    I live in the area and I think this would be great! I actually grew up in the badlands and the Maah Daah Hay was goes by only a couple miles from the ranch I grew up on.
    Now that I do my trail running out in cow pastures made up of MUCH softer slopes I often think about what it would be like to really go on long runs in the badlands. (In my teens I hiked or went horseback.)
    I have only entered a couple races but it seems weird to me with all the open space around here that most races are run right down the highway!
    I did find a website for a trail run this August but there should be more… and if there was an ultra here it would be a great way for people to realize that dirt is good to run on!
    (I don’t think I could be in the ultra. I am hoping to do my first half marathon this year. Hard to find time with 2 small children.)