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There are few drives more magical than North Dakota’s Enchanted Highway. However, despite its magic, the attraction only welcomes approximately 6,000 visitors in a typical year.
This collection of artistic exhibits is a unique experience, but is it worth it? Should you go out of your way to drive on the Enchanted Highway? Let’s find out!
About the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota
The Enchanted Highway is a stretch of highway located in western North Dakota. It features a collection of large metal sculptures spread over 32 miles.
The creator, Gary Greff, noticed the decline in small towns and businesses in the area and wanted to do something about it. The idea was to create something that would bring tourists to the area.
Greff started on the project in 1989 when he created the first sculpture, “Geese in Flight.” Following up on the success of his first creation, Gary set out to create more structures along the route to reflect the area’s landscape, history, and culture.
Today, visitors can experience seven large metal sculptures made from scrap metal and various recycled materials. If you’ve ever wanted to see 70-foot fish, 60-foot pheasants, and Teddy Roosevelt riding a horse, this is your chance.
Why Is It Called the Enchanted Highway?
There’s very little information about why the road received its name. However, the definition of enchanted is “filled with delight.” Considering this, it’s easy to see why it likely received the name.
Each sculpture has pullouts and picnic areas for visitors to create memories along the highway and spend time with each other, filling everyone with delight.
The name fits the route, as visitors can feel like they’ve entered a fairy tale. Walking amongst massive fish, jumbo grasshoppers, and a giant tin family is an experience you’ll never forget.
Where Does the Enchanted Highway Start and End?
The Enchanted Highway starts in the western North Dakota city of Gladstone at exit 72 of Interstate 94. It runs for 32 miles straight into the city of Regent. The goal of the highway was to lure travelers and their wallets into the town of Regent.
The town was founded in 1910 and has earned a reputation for its hospitality. At last count, the population of Regent was approximately 150. Many people in the area work in the agriculture and livestock industries.
While the Enchanted Highway may not bring hundreds of thousands of people to the area, it’s growing in popularity. Social media has exposed this highway to more travelers, and many hope to experience it in person.
How Many Statues Are on the Enchanted Highway?
You can see seven completed statues along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota. However, Gary Greff’s ultimate plan was to have 10 statues. He has mentioned having two pieces ready to go but nowhere to put them.
Greff told HPR1 paper, “I would like eventually to have three more sculptures on the Enchanted Highway; there’s a 12-mile stretch that was supposed to have three more sculptures on it. And right now, the landowners aren’t being real cooperative in leasing me a piece of land.”
Unfortunately, the Enchanted Highway is a one-person show. Greff, in his 70s, maintains the statues and parking areas and cuts the grass. It’s a big job that he hopes “doesn’t die when I die.”
Greff also owns the Enchanted Castle Hotel in Regent, N.D., which features a work-in-progress statue of a knight fighting a dragon.
Can You Drive Your RV on the Enchanted Highway?
Driving the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota is easy in an RV. However, it’s important to note that stopping to appreciate each piece of art can be challenging for some RVs.
The parking lots can have large potholes, and some parking areas require going up and down short, steep drives. This can present some clearance issues, especially for longer trailers.
Unfortunately, there’s not much room to safely pull off to the side of the road. So while driving the Enchanted Highway in an RV is possible, it’s not a good idea if you want to take your time.
If possible, we recommend parking your RV and returning in a more suitable vehicle where you can enjoy each stop without worrying about putting you and your RV in a sticky situation.
Keep in Mind: While in North Dakota, make sure you don’t Waste Your Time Visiting at the National Parks!
Other Things to Do Near the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota
While the Enchanted Highway can be a magical experience, it’s not all there is to do in this part of North Dakota. After driving the route, you can stay in the Enchanted Castle Hotel or campground and visit the gift shop. But let’s look at a few other things you’ll want to see and experience while visiting this area.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s name pays tribute to the 26th President of the United States. President Roosevelt spent time in North Dakota in the late 19th century and was a vocal advocate for the conservation of natural resources and the creation of national parks.
The park is divided into three units covering a total of 70,000 acres. The three units include the North Unit, the South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. With different landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities, each area provides a unique experience for visitors.
You can enjoy hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing in the park. Or drive on one of the many scenic drives, and experience most of the park. In addition, tours of historical sites and cultural attractions can help you learn more about the area.
Bismarck’s Dakota Zoo
The Dakota Zoo is a small zoo located in Bismarck, N.D. It was founded in 1961 and is home to many animals, including several endangered and threatened species.
In the zoo’s more than 90 acres, you can see more than 600 animals from all over the world. Some of the most popular attractions include snow leopards, gray wolves, red pandas, and river otters.
The zoo also has several attractions and amenities, including a train ride, a petting zoo where children can interact with farm animals, and a playground.
Keep in Mind: If you’re thinking of quitting RV life, you should know it’s Harder Than Ever to quit!
Dickinson Museum Center & Badlands Dinosaur Museum
The Dickinson Museum Center is a museum located in Dickinson, N.D. The museum has various exhibits showcasing the history, culture, and natural environment of western North Dakota. It’s a great way to learn about the area and its important role in American history.
In addition, the Badlands Dinosaur Museum takes a step way back in time. It’s home to one of North America’s largest collections of real dinosaur fossils. You can see skeletons from a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. This is a spot that anyone interested in paleontology will never forget.
Is the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota Worth It?
The Enchanted Highway in North Dakota is worth a visit if you’re in the area and looking for a unique, off-the-beaten-path attraction.
It can be a fun and memorable way to experience the beauty and culture of North Dakota. You may consider taking a detour down the highway if traveling from Billings, Mont., to Bismarck, N.D.
Take many pictures while enjoying this unique and creative attraction, and tell your friends and family about your magical experience. And maybe you’ll stay in the Enchanted Castle at the end of the route.