21 Must-See Places in Western North Dakota

Fill your itinerary with nearly two dozen things to see and do in a tour "Out West"

Fort Buford State Historic Site

A military post at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, Fort Buford was a supply depot for the U.S. Army during the Indian wars. It's the site of Sitting Bull's surrender in July 1881. Sitting Bull, a Sioux Indian, was imprisoned here, as was Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe.

15349 39th Ln NW Williston, ND 58801
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Home to John Jacob Astor's powerful American Fur Company, Fort Union Trading Post dominated the fur trade on the Upper Missouri River between 1829 and 1867. It's where Indians and fur traders co-existed in peace before the great Indian wars. Today, you can see museum exhibits in the Bourgeois House and shop for gifts and souvenirs in the reconstructed Indian Trade House.

15550 Highway 1804 Williston, ND 58801
Three Affliated Tribes Museum in New Town. 3
Three Tribes Museum and Four Bears Bridge

See artifacts relating to Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribal history at Three Tribes Museum, where you can find traditional American Indian arts, crafts and books. Don't miss the nearby Four Bears Bridge. Named for 19 tribal chiefs of the three tribes, it's the longest bridge in North Dakota, spanning nearly a mile of Lake Sakakawea.

New Town New Town, ND 58763
Statue and church at Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot. 4
Scandinavian Heritage Park

See a typical Norwegian house and a Norwegian stabbur (storehouse) at this park paying tribute to Scandinavian and American heritage. Among other attractions, there's a Danish windmill, 30-foot-tall Dala horse (the national symbol of Sweden) and a Nordic-style visitors center.

1020 South Broadway Minot, ND 58701
Minot Air Force Base

Home to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base offers drive-around tours of the facilities and flight line. Step-on guides are available, but reservations are required so you must plan in advance.

8 miles north on Hwy 83 Minot, ND
Aerial view of Lake Sakakawea, which has more shoreline than the state of California. 6
Lake Sakakawea and Garrison Dam

The largest lake in North Dakota and the largest manmade lake within one state, Lake Sakakawea is 609 square miles of water behind Garrison Dam. It's named for the young Indian woman who accompanied Lewis & Clark on their expedition. Daily tours of the Garrison Dam powerhouse are conducted.

Garrison Dam and Power Plant Riverdale, ND 58565
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Visit the 1804 meeting place of Sakakawea and Lewis & Clark. On the ruins of an ancient Indian village last occupied in 1845 today sits a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to preserving the culture of the Plains Indians. A reconstructed earthlodge contains artifacts from the Plains culture.

564 County Rd 37 Stanton, ND 58571
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan

Stop into this world-class interpretive center along the very route Lewis & Clark traveled. Exhibits focus on artifacts from every tribe the explorers encountered, showcasing the culture of the Mandan Indians and the winter of 1804-05. Fort Mandan is two miles west of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Daily tours are available of the reconstructed fort.

2576 Eighth St. SW Washburn, ND 58577
The Lewis & Clark Riverboat, docked at night 9
Lewis & Clark Riverboat

Take an afternoon, dinner or sunset cruise aboard the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, a 150-foot paddle-wheeler with twin decks and a 70-foot cabin. The riverboat can carry more than 150 passengers, and reservations are required for all lunch and dinner cruises.

1700 River Road Bismarck, ND
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

At Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, history goes back 300-plus years to when it was home to the Mandan Indians. Today it's a 977-acre park on the banks of the Missouri River, and its exhibits relate to the life of the Mandans and the military history of the fort (in the mid- to late 1800s, it was the site of a military garrison). Tour the home of General George and Libbie Custer and the 7th Cavalry.

4480 Fort Lincoln Road Mandan, ND 58554
North Dakota Capitol Grounds in Bismarck 11
North Dakota Capitol Building

Tour the "Skyscraper of the Prairie" -- the 19-story Capitol, which was built in the early 1930s. The Former Governor's Mansion State Historic Site is also in Bismarck. Restored to the late Victorian era, it housed North Dakota's governors from 1893 to 1960.

600 E. Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505
State Museum at the North Dakota Heritage Center

The collection of Plains Indians artifacts found here is second only to the Smithsonian's. You can also see displays on the state's rich military and agricultural history, and shop for local arts and crafts in the museum gift shop.

612 E. Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505
Tiger exhibit at Dakota Zoo in Bismarck. 13
Dakota Zoo

See more than 600 animals -- and more than 125 species -- at the Dakota Zoo, home to mountain lions, moose, grizzly bears, river otters and more.

600 Riverside Park Road Bismarck, ND 58504
A Triceratops greets visitors to the Dakota Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson. 14
Dakota Dinosaur Museum

Don't let the life-sized Triceratops and Pachycephalosaurus outside the entrance scare you away. Real skeletons excavated from the area are found inside, in addition to a Triceratops skull named "Bill" and a collection of minerals from all over the world. Stop into the gift shop for such unique souvenirs as insects in amber, and casts of dinosaur teeth and claws.

Chateau de Mores near Medora. 15
Chateau de Mores State Historic Site

This 26-room, two-story historic house museum was built in 1883 as the summer home of the Marquis de Mores, the French nobleman who founded Medora, and his family.

3426 Chateau Roadd Medora, ND 58645
Dave Bruner's photo Photographing the Little Missouri in the Beautiful Badlands of North Dakota won the Adventure category 16
Theodore Roosevelt National Park - South Unit

Admire the 26th president's contribution to conservation at this national park. The North Dakota Badlands provide a scenic backdrop, and you may spot buffalo, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, wild horses, mule deer and prairie dogs on the loop drive.

Medora, ND 58645
Overlook at Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit. 17
Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Unit

Get spectacular views along the 14-mile scenic drive, which features turnouts with interpretive signs. Self-guided nature trails take you through coulees and breaks. Visit the prairie dog town, Oxbow Overlook and the Edge of Glacier Pullout.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Unit Watford City, ND
McKenzie County Heritage Park and Pioneer Museum

An original trapper's log cabin, homestead shack, one-room schoolhouse and the original 1915 Schafer Law Office are on the site of the heritage park. You can even see mammoth fossil bones discovered in the area.

950 2nd Ave SW Watford City, ND 58854
Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site

An interpretive plaque on site commemorates the July 28, 1864, battle fought here between 2,200 troops commanded by General Alfred Sully and 6,000 Sioux Indians.

10 1/2 miles northwest Killdeer, ND 58505
The Killdeer Mountains are prominent along the Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway. 20
Medicine Hole

Indian legend claims the first people and animals emerged from this cave located on one of the Killdeer Mountain formations.

Killdeer, ND
Riding a trail at Little Missouri State Park. 21
Little Missouri State Park

Little Missouri State Park offers a wilderness experience in the picturesque North Dakota Badlands. Horse rental and guide services are available, or you can bring your own horse and explore the extensive trail system (corrals are available).

19 miles north of Killdeer Killdeer, ND 58502
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