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Take a trip along Highway 85

by North Dakota Tourism


Day 1 | Bowman + Belfield/Medora
Bone up on dinosaurs and sign up for a day trip with Pioneer Trails Regional Museum staff to collect fossils in the area. Have a bite to eat at Grazer’s Burgers and Beers before heading out toward the highest point in North Dakota, White Butte (3,506 feet), near Amidon. Jump on I-94 westbound at Belfield and drive 15 miles toward Medora to Painted Canyon Visitor Center and your first look at the Badlands. Then head into town and stay at the Rough Riders Hotel.

Day 2 | Medora + Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Grab a hearty breakfast at the Cowboy Café, then drive into Theodore Roosevelt National Park when wildlife is most active. Take the scenic drive and go for a hike at Wind Canyon or Buck Hill. For the adventure-seekers, the 144-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail carved through the Badlands provides an epic ride with breathtaking views. Back in Medora, learn more about prominent North Dakota cowboys and Native Americans at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, then enjoy a carriage ride around town. The day ends with a pitchfork steak meal and a night under the stars at the Medora Musical.

Day 3 | Medora + Watford City
Start your day with breakfast at the Farmhouse Café, then take a scenic drive through the prairies and into the rugged country as you skirt the edges of the Badlands for 60 miles between Medora and Watford City. Explore the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and notice the differences between the two units on the scenic drive overlooking the Little Missouri River. Outdoor enthusiasts can venture on to Tobacco Gardens Resort & Marina to rent a kayak to paddle around the bay on Lake Sakakawea. After building an appetite, grab a chicken fried steak and retire for a restful night in a cabin.

Day 4 | Watford City + Williston
Breakfast at the Little Missouri Grille, then your next stop is the Long X Trading Post for a photo with a 17,000-pound petrified tree stump. Pick up lunch at the American Smoke Wagon BBQ, then take off toward the North Dakota-Montana border and see a downtown museum in Alexander. Along the border, take time to walk across the Fairview Lift Bridge over the Yellowstone River toward the Cartwright Tunnel. After your hike, step back in time at Fort Union and nearby Fort Buford before having a meal and a drink at Williston Brewing Company.

For more information about this road trip, including additional places to eat and stay, what to see and do, and where to stop for photo ops, visit https://belegendary.link/RoadTrips and plan your legendary North Dakota adventure.