Western Trips

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway / North Dakota Travel

The 64 mile Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway is found in one of the most scenic areas of western North Dakota. This scenic byway runs from north of Manning, ND, to Highway 22 through the town of Killdeer to Highway 23, then east of New Town, ND.

Scenery along the Scenic Byway
Not only is this a very scenic drive but there are also several interesting stops along the way to make your North Dakota trip a fun and educational experience.

Below we have highlighted just a few of the many sites to visit along the Killdeer Mountain Four Bears Scenic Byway.

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation  
The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is home to the  Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Native Americans and is located in New Town, North Dakota on the Missouri River system.. The total area of the reservation is approximately 980,000 acres. 

The first to arrive in this area were the Arikaras in the late 1700's.  They were joined later by the Hidatsa who were originally a part of the Crows who left the Hidatsa and relocated further west. The Mandans were originally from the Ohio Valley before moving west. The Mandans were described in detail in the Lewis and Clark Journals. 

Mandan Dance Lodge at Fort Berthold
Three Affiliated Tribes Museum

The Three Affiliated Tribes Museum is located four miles west of New Town, ND along Hwy 23. Make a stop here and see their collection of exhibits and learn about the history and culture of the
Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Native Americans. 

This museum located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation about 4 miles west of New Town, ND on Hwy 23. The museum's collection will give you a good idea of the life and history of these Native American tribes.

Little Missouri State Park
Here is an excellent place to view the rugged Badlands terrain in western North Dakota.

The Little Missouri State Park is located 17 miles north of Killdeer, ND on Hwy 22.. Most of the Little Missouri State Park is only accessed by hiking or horseback. This makes the park unique plus there's 47 miles of trails. Horses can be rented at a stable next to the park. The park's size is 4,592 acres and camping is allowed with some sites offering electricity and some sites more primitive.

 The Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site

Located about 10 miles northwest of Killdeer, North Dakota is the  Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site.

The battle took place on July 28-29, 1864. The opponents were about 2,200 U.S Army troops against the Santee and Teton Sioux. While this battle took place during the time of the American Civil War, the aim for the U.S. Army Cavalry was to attempt to put down ongoing trouble with the Sioux. The Sioux in this area had fled Minnesota earlier. This battle was actually a reprisal for the Sioux troubles in 1862 Minnesota that resulted in the largest mass hanging in U.S. history in Mankato. See our Western Trips article on the Minnesota Massacre on the link below...

The Minnesota Sioux War of 1862

While the Sioux put up a strong fight, the tide turned for the Union troops and the Sioux eventually began to flee in what would be about a nine mile running battle in all directions. Many Sioux were killed in battle but also many escaped along the rugged terrain. The Battle of Killdeer Mountain was a resounding victory for the army but as settlers and miners continued heading west over the ensuing years, the war certainly wasn't over. Custer's Battle of the Little Bighorn against Sioux tribes would occur some 12 years later.

There is a sandstone slab monument and flagpole mark part of the July 28, 1864, battlefield.  Two headstones honor soldiers who were killed in the cavalry charge. 

See additional Western Trips articles on the links below..... 

Visit the Old Spanish Trail Highway Through the South 

Drive Idaho's Sawtooth Scenic Byway 

Drive Route 66 in Kansaa

Our reference material and some very interesting reads regarding North Dakota includes.....History of North Dakota by author Elwyn B. Robinson.....Dakota : The Story of the Northern Plains by Norman K. Risjord.....The Warriors of Killdeer Mountain by James Willer.....The Most Scenic Drives in America, Newly Revised and Updated : 120 Spectacular Road Trips by the Editors of Readers Digest. 

Little Missouri River through North Dakota
The Scenic Byways of North Dakota 

North Dakota, traversed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was admitted to the Union in 1899. 

Today, North Dakota offers many historic sites and museums, tremendous recreational opportunities plus some of the most beautiful scenery along it's Scenic Byways.

North Dakota has ten scenic byways including the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit Scenic Byway, the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway, the Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway, the Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway and several others. For more detailed information see website.....http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/byways/byways.html

(Article copyright Western Trips. Photos and images in the public domain)