North Dakota Badlands Letterbox
First Box in North Dakota

Hunt this box at your own risk. Temperatures in the summer can exceed 100 degrees and in the winter -45 degrees. Ther is no water available at the site. There is a campground maintained by the Forest Service.

Some off trail walking over moderate terrain is required; wear sturdy shoes and dress accordingly.

This box is located in the Little Missouri National Grasslands - North Dakota Badlands. The nearest town is Amidon (pop 23) in Slope County.

Directions: Allow 1/2 hour walking time to find this box.

Take highway 85 west of Amidon. About one mile west of town you will see a road sign: Burning Coal Vein 13 miles. Look for the turnoff on the right side of the highway. Follow this dirt road for 12 miles until you reach the turnoff for the Burning Coal Vein Campground (Rt 772).

The campground is one mile in on this road.

As you reach the campground the road forks. Follow the signs to the Columnar juniper View Point.

The road will dead end at a parking lot on the top of a hill. This is the view point.

From the parking lot you will notice a roughly conical monolith at 135 deg magnetic.

Follow the trail that leads to the base of the monolith, Just before you reach the set of steps leading to the base you will see a trail that splits off at 205 deg. Follow this trail as it passes west of the monolith and below a jumble of rock.

You will notice to the SW a number of columnar junipers growing in a gully.

Eventually you will crest a ridgline at which point the monolith will bear 24 deg.

At this point leave the trail and walk due west up a slight hill. When you reach the top you will see a rock outcrop to the west with a bushy juniper growing along side a columnar juniper.

From the NE end of this out crop the monolith will bear 45 deg.

Follow allong the outcrop due west past the two junipers at the western end of the third to the last large boulder a juniper will bear 305 deg.

What you seek is hidden under some rocks under the edge of this boulder
Be careful when you uncover this box, there may be dangerous animals lurking underneath.

Please make sure this box is well hidden when you finish, it may be several years before we can check on it.

Enjoy the scenic beauty of the area.
Rather than route back to Amidon, consider driving north to Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Burning Coal Vein N.D. link North Dakota Natural Area