Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway

Stretching along western North Dakota, the 64-mile Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway provides some of the most spectacular sightseeing when it comes to the state’s natural beauty. Start the byway just north of Manning on Highway 22, north through Killdeer to Highway 23, and then east to New Town.

On the southern end of the byway, take in sweeping vistas of prairie, wetlands, grasslands and lakefront at Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge, where natural habitats are teeming with wildlife: everything from Canadian geese and sandpipers to beavers and coyotes. During autumn’s peak bird migration, squawking waterfowl are common. Launch a boat on the ramp along the north shore of Lake Ilo, or drop in a fishing line from the nearby fishing pier.

For a glimpse into the area’s history, continue along the byway to Killdeer Battlefield State Historic Site, a quiet overlook where General Sully’s troops battled Sioux Indians on July 28, 1864. Enjoy a moment of silence while taking in breathtaking views of the Killdeer Mountains in the background.

Continue north until you reach Little Missouri State Park, where you’ll find awe-inspiring Badlands scenery created by years of wind, water and sand. Hike or ride horseback along more than 47 miles of trails to discover deep canyons and brilliantly colored rock formations juxtaposed against wide-open blue skies.

Learn more about the Native American tribes that inhabited this area when you visit the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum in New Town, where you can peruse exhibits that explore the history and culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people. Then traverse Four Bears Memorial Bridge over the Missouri River to reach Crow Flies High State Recreation Area. This dramatic overlook offers panoramic views of the Four Bears Memorial Bridge, nearby Sanish Bay and Lake Sakakawea.