Biking the Pembina Gorge
Biking the Pembina Gorge
Biking the Pembina Gorge

North Dakota 20 in 20: Fall is for Adventure


Spending time outdoors or alone with family has never been more important. North Dakota’s outdoors is a great way to keep your distance and keep active.


Fall is the perfect time for adventure in the wide-open, uncrowded spaces of North Dakota. Days are getting shorter, but pleasant temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities suited for social distancing. While most of the fall foliage is past peak, hiking and biking trails remain in prime condition.  

It’s cool enough to need a bright camo jacket to stay warm waiting for the sun to rise from a duck blind or a bright orange jacket when you take to the field for pheasant and deer. Later in the fall, lakes will freeze, snow will fall and skiing and snowmobiling will become popular.   

North Dakota’s outdoors is a great way to keep your distance and still keep active.  

 Gorge Yourself  

Feast on the great outdoor recreation offered in the Pembina Gorge. Kayak or canoe the Pembina River through forested hills. Mountain bike the terrain park down to the valley floor and take the chair lift up at Frostfire Park. ATV or dirt bike on miles of trails along the hillsides.  

That’s Corny  

Leave the GPS at home. Trust your instincts and sense of direction as you weave your way through one of North Dakota’s amazing corn mazes. Each maze tells a different story. Check out these corn mazes and pumpkin patches


The END of the Road  

Take fall to the extreme, literally. Extreme North Dakota Racing takes over Turtle River State Park trails in October. END-TRAILS and END-TOMBED is a run-ride doubleheader that’s scary fun. 

A Fortnight or 10  

Walk in the footsteps of some of the first North Dakota travelers - Lewis and Clark - who decided November was a great time to stop and build a fort to get through the winter. It’s also a great time to tour the Corps of Discovery’s Fort Mandan along the Missouri River near Washburn.  

A Huntin’  We Will Go  

Flights of geese and ducks aren’t the only thing filling the air in the fall. Hunters from across the country flock to North Dakota for the excellent pheasant, goose and duck hunting found here. And the deer hunting opener is practically a state holiday. 

Grandpa Al’s Hayrides  

Grandpa Al’s collaborated with well-known Papa’s Pumpkin Patch and simply moved next door in Bismarck to keep a tradition alive. Enjoy all the pumpkins, hayrides, games and more family activities in the woods along the Missouri River.  

TRNP x 3  

When nature squeezes in fewer days of sunshine, wildlife in Theodore Roosevelt National Park make the most of it! Take time to scope out buffalo, wild horses, elk, prairie dogs and more in the park’s three units.  

White Horse Hill  

You may not see a white horse in the hills among the yellow, red and green leaves, but you will find 250 species of birds, plus bison, elk and deer along driving and walking trails within the preserve.  

Angling for Lunch  

There is still time for a few final trolls around Lake Sakakawea. Drop in the boat, the line and the lure and pull out a whopper walleye or pike. Catch enough to last until ice up, then do it again!   

Leather up and Ride  

It’s a Goldilocks time of year for motorcycling. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. It’s just right. Leather up, gather a few friends and head out on the highway where it’s just you and the open road.  

Maah Daah Hey Hey Hey 

Fall on the Maah Daah Hey Trail is a spectacular time. The trail cuts a 144-mile swatch through the Badlands and grassland of western North Dakota. Hikers, bikers and horseback riders embrace the cool breezes and blue skies. Click here for more on the Maah Daah Hey Trail.  

Native American Culture 

Native American sites all across North Dakota provide a glimpse of what life was like in the diverse tribes in North Dakota. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November with a visit to historically significant sites to learn more about these indigenous cultures.   


Want to get away? Fill up the tank and experience the sights, sounds and overall “feeling of fall” on North Dakota’s scenic byways and backways

Yurt Me  

For centuries, yurts have been the lodging of choice among nomadic people on the Asia steppes. Now you can experience a modern version of this ancient lodging at North Dakota’s state parks

Ice Fishing  

Lakes will ice up sometime this fall, winter will settle in and little towns of ice houses will spring up on area lakes. Experience one of North Dakota’s top recreational activities from the comfort of your own fishing hole

Drive, Chip, Putt 

Tee it up with your friends for a few final rounds at your favorite golf course. The Triple Golf Challenge and Lewis and Clark Golf Trail are waiting. 

Lessons From the Road 

Make your travels a learning experience for the kids. U.S. history was made here; legends lived here. What was it like a century or two ago on the Northern Plains? Find out here. 

Past, Present and Future 

Study North Dakota’s interesting history, vibrant cultures and bright future at our museums. Native America culture, art, aircraft and more are featured prominently. Distance yourself from people, not the past.  

Smith and Curran 

Enjoy a smorgasbord of culturally unique food and drink during your tour of North Dakota. Sample ethnic cuisine from around the globe and drinks unique to North Dakota, like the Smith and Curran, created in 1952 in Bismarck. 


North Dakota is an outdoor playground for all ages and all seasons. Embrace the changing season and cherish the outdoor opportunities - like hiking and biking – that it brings. Norwegians have a word for it - “friluftsliv” - and we have a state made for it.