Outdoor Recreation is Abundant in Northwestern North Dakota

Print / Email

BISMARCK, ND – Spring has arrived in North Dakota with temperatures warming, trees blooming and wildlife becoming more active as winter loses its hold on the state.  North Dakota’s outdoors are buzzing with activity this time of year and there are many ways to witness it firsthand, especially in the northwestern part of the state.

Birding, scenic drives, day hikes and canoe trips are all easily accessible and offer travelers, families and adventure-seekers some of the best outdoor fun North Dakota has to offer.

Little Missouri State Park, north of Killdeer

Little Missouri State Park is a great choice for travelers, families and adventure-seekers with more than 47 miles of hiking and horse trails. Set in the rugged Little Missouri breaks country, some of the most picturesque Badlands scenery can be found at Little Missouri State Park. Visitors are treated to an authentic western North Dakota experience near Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Killdeer Mountains and the Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway. This more primitive park lets visitors really experience the Badlands as they have access to rustic cabins perched on rugged cliffs. The camping facilities cater to the horse enthusiasts providing corrals, concessions for horses and guide service to some of the most challenging trail rides in the state. Learn more

Lewis & Clark State Park, south of Ray

On an upper bay of Lake Sakakawea, Lewis and Clark State Park is near an actual 1805 campsite of the famed explorers. The lake offers excellent fishing (walleye, sauger and northern pike) and boating opportunities. The park has a swimming beach with washed sand and a newly updated store for camping foods and supplies. Learn more

Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Scenic Backway, Kenmare

Beginning at US Highway 52, 6 miles south of Kenmare, the Des Lacs National Wildlife Scenic Backway (not paved) in the northwest corner of North Dakota provides excellent access to view the rolling hills and wooded draws of the Des Lacs Valley. The most exciting experience is the excellent wildlife viewing platforms – more than 250 species of birds have been seen here and include waterfowl, raptors and many other migratory birds. Deer, moose and other wildlife are also seen along this route. Learn more

Confluence Canoe Trail, Williston

This nine-mile canoe adventure on the great Missouri River consists of two segments in the area where explorers Lewis and Clark once spent time. The first segment starts at Fort Union National Trading Post Historic Site and follows the Missouri River. The second segment starts at the Fairview Lift Bridge and follows the Yellowstone River to the Confluence Interpretive Center. Learn more

Little Muddy Canoe Trail, Williston

The six-mile canoe trail on the Little Muddy River begins at Thompson's Landing and heads northeast to the White Bridge access point. Learn more

Crow Flies High State Recreation Area, New Town

This scenic overlook just west of New Town provides views of Four Bears Bridge and Lake Sakakawea. The free day-use recreation area can easily be explored by foot. Learn more

Indian Hills State Recreation Area, west of Garrison

Indian Hills State Recreation Area offers camping, modern and primitive cabins and a full-service marina with a camp store and fishing guide service. It is operated by the privately-owned Indian Hills Resort. The area is known for walleye fishing but Lake Sakakawea also offers northern pike, small mouth bass, catfish and white bass. The Nux Baa Ga Trail, which means “All the People” in Arikara, winds six miles with the lake as its backdrop for hikers, horseback riders and bicyclists.  With nine interpretive, signs it’s more than a trail, it’s a historical tribute to Elbowoods and surrounding communities that were lost to the lake. Learn more

The Links of North Dakota, Ray

Rated a Top 100 golf course by Golf Week and Golf Digest, The Links presents golfers with an authentic links-style golfing experience on the shores of Lake Sakakawea. While water doesn’t come into play on this par-72 championship course, 82 sand bunkers will.  Learn more

Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center, Williston

The Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center tells the story of the confluence of these two mighty rivers and provides the same magnificent view that Lewis and Clark Expedition members enjoyed in 1805 and 1806. The center’s rotunda includes three large murals featuring quotes from the Lewis and Clark Journals and paintings of the Missouri River landscape by Colonel Philippe Régis de Trobriand, commanding officer of Fort Stevenson near present-day Garrison, N.D., in the late 1860s. Learn more

Birding on the Lewis & Clark Trail, Alexander

Birders can search out roughly 350 bird species in North Dakota. Birding on the western North Dakota Lewis & Clark Trail includes Williston Marsh, Lewis and Clark State Park, the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Little Missouri National Grasslands and Lake Zahl National Wildlife Refuge. On mostly paved roads, you’ll have easy, convenient access along the way.  Learn more

Nature Conservancy Property at Davis Ranch, Denhoff

One of the best displays of truly native prairie in North Dakota, Davis Ranch is also one of the largest prairie landscapes in the Missouri Coteau. It is also the largest Nature Conservancy Preserve in North Dakota. Here you’ll find pothole wetlands, silverberry shrubland, western wheatgrass grassland and needlegrass grassland.  Learn more

These are just a few outdoor recreation activities available in northwest North Dakota. For more information, go to NDtourism.com or phone 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663.