Many people do not see the appeal of North Dakota, but this state has a lot of cool things to explore. While the Badlands in western North Dakota are very popular, there’s plenty to see outside of their crests and ridges. Today, we’ll look at a stretch of highway in North Dakota that is a lot of fun to drive. The Enchanted Highway captures the hearts of many art-lovers, and is a nice, scenic reprieve from the freeway. Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Enchanted Highway?
The Enchanted Highway is a 32 mile scenic byway that highlights a number of beautiful metal sculptures. There are eight unique sculptures along this 32-mile stretch, each of them detailing a different scene. Each sculpture has a parking area and kiosk near its base. You don’t just have to drive past – you can stop and admire each one!
The Enchanted Highway began in 1989, thanks to the local artist Gary Greff. He was inspired by local wildlife and by state historical figures. Gary wanted to revive his hometown after it faced economic and population decline. He did this by working to erect several large sculptures made of recycled materials to draw attention to the area. In 2012, he opened a motel to continue to encourage the theme. This motel, called “The Enchanted Castle“, offer affordable rooms, a medieval-themed tavern, and a well-rated steakhouse. The motel also boasts a continental breakfast, a gymnasium, a fitness center, hot tubs, and a business center.
Where is the Enchanted Highway?
We’ve already noted that the Enchanted Highway is in North Dakota, but now we’ll get specific. The Highway begins at Exit 72 on Interstate 94. This exit is near Gladstone, North Dakota. The first sculpture, “Geese in Flight”, can be seen clearly from I-94. Let’s take a look at this point on a map.
Visitors will exit I-94 at exit 72 and head south on 100 1/2 Ave SW toward Gladstone, South Dakota. The Enchanted Highway continues 32 miles from this point and terminates in the small town of Regent, North Dakota.
How far is this highway from well-known places in North Dakota? Let’s take a look. Please note that estimated travel times are based on estimates from Google Maps at the time of writing this article. Your actual travel distance may vary based on traffic, weather, and road closures.
|Place||Distance||Estimated Travel Time|
|Medora||78.4 miles||1 hour and 14 minutes|
|Bismarck||119 miles||1 hour and 48 minutes|
|Jamestown||219 miles||3 hours and 11 minutes|
|Fargo||313 miles||4 hours and 32 minutes|
|Theodore Roosevelt National Park||78.6 miles||1 hour and 14 minutes|
As we stated before, “Geese in Flight” is the first sculpture on the Enchanted Highway, and it is located at mile 0 of the 32-mile experience. We’re going to look at each one of the sculptures and note their location along the highway using a helpful table.
|“Geese in Flight”||0||Stands 110 feet tall and 150 feet wide – largest scrap-metal sculpture in the world. It is in the shape of an eye or sun, with several black geese flying.|
|“Deer Crossing”||3||Made from used oil well tanks. 75 and 50 feet tall. A bucks leaps and a doe walks.|
|“Grasshoppers in the Field”||15||Several massive grasshopper sculptures, the largest being 60 feet long with 40 foot antennae.|
|“Fisherman’s Dream”||19||A number of fish sculptures stand out from the North Dakota prairie. The largest is a leaping rainbow trout, and it is about 70 feet long.|
|“Pheasants on the Prairie”||24||A family of pheasants, with the largest being a rooster that measures 40 feet tall by 70 feet long.|
|“Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again”||26||A silhouette of Theodore Roosevelt on a bucking horse, made from well pipe. It is 51 feet tall.|
|World’s Largest Tin Family”||30||A mother, father, and ton made of farm tanks, barb wire, and telephone poles. The tin father is 45 feet tall, the mother is 44 feet tall, and the child is 23 feet tall.|
|Knight and Dragon (Sir Albert)||32.5||This sculpture is still in progress, but the knight alone is 41 feet tall. This sculpture will stand in front of the hotel at the end of the Enchanted Highway.|
In addition to these sculptures, there is also a gift shop. When you get to Regent, North Dakota, there is a sweet gift shop with a couple of fun sights to visit. The Enchanted Highway Gift Shop features button-operated Whirly Gigs and Tin Family Cutouts for photo opportunities. The gift shop is located at
12 Main Ave
Regent, North Dakota 58650
It is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The phone number is:
Other Things to Do
Regent, North Dakota, has a couple of other nice features. If you’re interested in hunting, Kelly’s Limit Guide Service offers guided wild bird hunting. There are also a couple of great camping and lodging opportunities – Enchanted Highway Campground, Indian Creek, the Crocus Inn, and Prairie Vista Bed and Breakfast are all options in the area. You can also check out the history of the county by visiting the Hettinger County Historical Society Museum.
The town may be small and quiet, but it is not without opportunities for adventure and recreation. Even if you don’t find anything that suits you right in Regent, you’re just a short hop from I-94. Keep heading west for some exciting vistas over the Badlands and to take in some of the life and culture in Medora, North Dakota.
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