Western North Dakota

Touring the western half of North Dakota? Don't miss these historic sites and outdoor activities.
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. You can even purchase replicas of items that were bartered for in the days of the successful fur trading companies.

15550 Highway 1804 Williston, ND 58801
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
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
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.

A mile long, Garrison Dam provides flood control and generates electricity. Daily tours of the powerhouse are conducted daily.

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. The Bergquist Gallery features a rare set of the artwork of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer.

Fort Mandan is two miles west of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center on McLean County Highway 17. Daily tours are available of the reconstructed fort, the home of Lewis and Clark for the winter of 1804-05.

2576 8th St SW Washburn, ND 58577
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

Up for a trolley ride? The Fort Lincoln Trolley offers a round-trip ride to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, where 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).

Inside the state park are On-A-Slant Indian Village, where you can see reconstructed earthlodges, and Custer House. Tour the home of General George and Libbie Custer, from which Custer and his 7th Calvary rode to meet their fate at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Visit the reconstructed commissary storehouse, granary, barracks and stables. Also in the park are Fort McKeen blockhouses. Set high on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, they gave soldiers a stellar vantage point.

4480 Fort Lincoln Road Mandan, ND 58554
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
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
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.
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.

Adjacent to the dinosaur museum is the Joachim Regional Museum, which contains artifacts and displays from across southwest North Dakota.

200 E. Museum Drive Dickinson, ND 58601
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 Rd Medora, ND 58645
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. Want more action? Options include hiking trails through the Badlands, trail rides on horseback, mountain biking the Maah Daah Hey Trail or canoeing the Little Missouri River.

Medora, ND 58645
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.

The pioneer museum features a replica pioneer home.

Highway 85 W Watford City, ND
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
Medicine Hole

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

,
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
Related Content: