There are few images as vivid in the public imagination as that of the American West – and nowhere offers more authentic sites and experiences than legendary North Dakota. If you’re up for a real western adventure, pack your boots and discover your inner cowboy (or cowgirl!)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Named for the 26th President who sought solace in the open spaces of the North Dakota Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the American West personified. Sweeping plains, endless skies and rugged landscapes make this National Park an essential part of any visit.
History buffs will also be delighted to know that the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is currently under construction in nearby Medora. Combine your visit to the park with a stop at the library to learn more about the complex figure of Teddy Roosevelt, what the West meant to him and his important role in conservation of the West.
North Dakota has hundreds of kilometers of horseback riding trails, including in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the state the cowboy way. For those who prefer to keep their boots on the ground the state has countless scenic hiking trails.
Cowboy Hall of Fame
The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora is an absolute must for anyone interested in horses, cowboys, Native Americans and their relationships on the northern Great Plains. Artifacts and interactive displays make this attraction a must-see.
Follow in the Footsteps of Lewis & Clark
Follow the Sakakawea Scenic Byway, from Washburn to Stanton to retrace the route of explorers Lewis and Clark, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition. From 1803-1806 this intrepid band set out to chart the newly acquired lands of the Louisiana Purchase. Make sure to visit the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, home to the most complete collection of expedition-era artifacts anywhere in the world. Interactive displays tell the dramatic story of the expedition and how aid from Native American tribes was essential to their success.
Indigenous Heritage & Culture
North Dakota has a rich native history and culture and is the ancestral home of many Northern Great Plains tribes, including the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara; the Yanktonai, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Hunkpapa and other Dakota/Lakota/Nakota (commonly known as the Sioux) tribes along with the Chippewa and Metis. Visitors are welcome to explore the tribal lands and discover the beauty of Native American culture.
· Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site - once home to Mandan and Hidatsa peoples and important trading site for hundreds of years.
· On-A-Slant Indian Village features five reconstructed earthlodges and interpretive tours that offer an introduction to Mandan culture. The site retains archeological evidence of the original village.
· The MHA Interpretive Center in New Town interprets the history and culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people and includes fascinating exhibits and education sessions.
· Powwows are one of the best ways to experience native culture first-hand. Originally held in the spring to celebrate the beginning of new life, powwows are now held throughout the year. The celebrations often have religious significance, but are also a time for people to gather, sing, dance, feast, pray and renew old friendships. These celebrations are still an important part of life for many American Indians. Many powwows are open to non-tribal members, check local listings when you visit and please be sure to follow proper etiquette when attending
Images provided by North Dakota Tourism