In the yet to be completed routing of the Great Plains Trail, the southern terminus is most likely going to be the summit of Guadalupe Peak in Texas, but what is the plan for the northern terminus? Good question. The general plan is to have the U.S./Canada border be the the northern end of the trail, and there are numerous options within either Montana or North Dakota. There will be advantages and disadvantages to any route, but today I’d like to highlight one good possibility which is Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota.
Des Lacs NWR is long and skinny as it hugs the banks and bluffs of the Des Lacs River in northwestern North Dakota. The bluffs are a nice mix of wooded hills as well as open prairie that is typical in this transition zone of the continent.
Not far to the east are the more wooded areas of the Turtle Mountains.
Not far to the west are the wide open short grass plains of Montana.
Not far to the north are sub-alpine forests and lakes of Saskatchewan.
Not far to the south are the drier badlands and buttes Teddy Roosevelt country.
In fact, the area is not far from what is considered to be the geographic center of the continent of North America, which is near the town of Rugby, ND less than 100 miles to the east.
Regardless of where the trail will eventually be, it’s exciting to imagine being in this beautiful area, and standing on the border with 1500 miles of the GPT beckoning away to the south!