Sheyenne State Forest Waterfall Hike
This hike goes to North Dakota’s only natural waterfall and offers great scenery, including views of the Sheyenne River valley.
- North Dakota’s only natural waterfall
- Scenic views up and down the Sheyenne River valley
- Diversity of habitats, including river bottom forest, open prairie, and savannah
- Two backcountry campsites, which also make fabulous picnic spots
This area features a diversity of habitats, including rolling sand hills, thick hardwood forests, and expansive tall grass prairies. The forest is made up of wooded coulees and stream bottoms, steep hillsides, spring-fed brooks, scenic overlooks, level upland grasslands and both upland and bottomland hardwood forest types. Wildlife is abundant in the area and includes white tailed deer, turkeys, and a great variety of birdlife.
The Sheyenne River valley is what geologists refer to as a Glacial Meltwater Trench, formed by rapidly flowing meltwater when the continental glaciers were receeding northward from North Dakota.
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Directions to and GPS Coordinates for trailhead
To reach the Martinson Bridge trailhead from the community of Fort Ransom, head southeast on the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway (Valley Rd.) and look for signs for the Martinson Bridge Trailhead located about 1-mile south on 122nd St. SE. GPS: N 46.514° & W 97.868°.
General route description: The 4.4 mile round trip hike out to the waterfall is a very scenic walk and there are two backcountry campsites found along the trail. From the trailhead, head uphill (southwest) on the gravel road before turning off through the fenced gate (west). The trail climbs up through thick woods before cresting the partially open ridge, where great views up and down the valley are found. The trail winds in and out of the woods before dropping down to a stream valley, crossing two footbridges, and coming out to the Mineral Springs where hikers will find the first campsite. The NCT eventually follows an old woods road along the edge of a pasture and through thick woods before descending to another stream valley. After crossing two more footbridges, hikers will come out to the second backcountry campsite, which is located adjacent to the waterfall. Notes: This section of the NCT is open to horse use and it receives heavy horse traffic. Fall colors are fantastic in the State Forest but beautiful views can be found year-round.
Camping information: Camping and lodging is available in Fort Ransom while backcountry tent camping is also available on the NCT at the Waterfall and Mineral Springs campsites.
Updated – 12/2/2010 – Problems with this page? Contact: Matt Davis