Touring the Byway
53 Miles | 5 Days/4 Nights | Gateway City: Devils Lake, North Dakota
Serene marshes, charming pastures, glistening lakes and heavy woodlands — the landscape along this Byway is varied and enchanting. The route begins three miles north of Rolla to St. John and continues west on County Highway 43 to State Highway 281, then back onto State Highway 43 until it ends State Highway 14.
We suggest starting your Byway adventure by spending a day in the unique community of Devil’s Lake. Explore the Lake Region Heritage Center and Sheriff’s House Museum, on Day Two, a beautiful drive around the largest natural body of water in North Dakota encompasses the White Horse Hill National Game Preserve, Fort Totten and Graham Island State Park.
A short drive to Rugby, allows you to check out the Geographic Center of North America before you get to Dunsieth. Don’t miss W’eel turtle, at the junction of US 281 and ND 5, an assemblage of tire rims welded together, in the shape of, you guessed it, a turtle!
Next up is Belcourt, headquarters of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where a collection of attractions reveal the culture and heritage of the Chippewa, Cree and Metis, including St. Anne’s Indian Mission, Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center, and the Anishinabe Learning, Cultural, and Wellness Center’s American Indian Interpretive Center which displays homes and other fascinating exhibits.
The Byway begins by way of St. John, one of the oldest cities in North Dakota. The Turtle Mountain Visitor Center in the Martineau House tell more of the story as you continue your journey.
As you head west, wildlife habitats around the many peaceful ponds and lakes include the Turtle Mountain Wildlife Management Area and Homen State Forest, which host deer, elk, moose, turkey, waterfowl and resident buffalo herd.
The International Peace Garden, with floral displays and memorials us a must see attraction! Spread out over 2,300 acres of natural beauty, two pristine freshwater lakes, scenic hiking and driving trails, wildflowers, waterfalls, and a huge variety of North American birds and animals, this site is split between the US and Canada.
More natural beauty is on display at Lake Metishoge State Park and Mystical Horizons, a 21st century “Stonehenge” on the North Dakota prairie. At the end of the Byway in Bottineau, check out the Bottineau County Historical Museum to learn about Pierre Bottineau, a historic figure on the northern plains.
When you’ve finished exploring all there is to see along the Byway, spend the night in Bottineau. From there, we wish you a safe and pleasant journey home or on another North Dakota Scenic Byway.
Download the detailed itinerary for the full tour of the Byway which includes the highlighted attractions below and much more!
In January 1931, the U.S. Geological Survey determined that the geographic center of North America was in Pierce County North Dakota, recognizing it with a field stone monument that stands at the intersection of US Highway 2 and ND State Highway 3. The Geographic Center complex includes the Prairie Village Museum which features 23 historic buildings and six exhibition halls arranged around a quaint village square, where you can explore the train depot, livery barn, log cabin, general store, and of course, a saloon. The museum holds an expansive collection of Native American artifacts, antique cars, farm machinery and hundreds of other items. Also on the grounds, the 88.5 foot illuminated steel Northern Lights Tower rises straight out of the prairie, shining multi-colored shades of metallic paint replicating the stunning Aurora Borealis.
The Heritage Center was founded to ensure that the history, culture, language, written documents, artifacts, and artwork of the Chippewa, Cree and Metis would be preserved. Historical materials are made available for use by the Turtle Mountain people and others who desire to learn more about the Tribe.
The international border between the United States and Canada is the longest unfortified border in the world. Early on, Canadians and Americans passed freely between the two countries and even as US Customs functions were established on the American side, citizens of both countries peacefully transit back and forth every day. In 1932, it was decided to commemorate that peace with a 2,339-acre botanical garden named the International Peace Garden. The garden is graced with pristine freshwater lakes, scenic hiking and driving trails, wildflowers, waterfalls, wildlife and birds and the more than 155,000 flowers that animate the Formal Garden’s terraces and walkways. More than 2,000 flowers were incorporated into the 13-foot working floral clock. The Sunken Garden Area features an octagon shaped reflecting pool. Peace literally rings out, every 15 minutes from the Carillon Bell Tower. A Book of Remembrance displays the names of the victims of 9/11 in the Garden Chapel. Even more moving is the 9/11 Memorial Site, where twisted girders rescued from the World Trade Center rest as a symbol of peace and democracy. Plan to leave yourself plenty of time to explore and savor this remarkable place.
Taking its name from the Chippewa phrase, “metigoche washegum,” or “clear lake surrounded by oak trees,” the area was traditionally home to Native American tribes, including the Blackfoot and Hidatsa, the Assiniboine and Chippewa. During the Great Depression, the area was the site of a transient camp constructed with rustic log and masonry buildings. Today, Lake Mitegoshe is surrounded by rolling hills and aspen forests. The Old Oak National Recreation Trail traverses the park.
A working solar calendar built from granite pillars, similar to the original Stonehenge in Britain, this modern-day Stonehenge on the prairie was the vision of Jack Olson, an aerospace engineer who passed away before seeing it was completed. It features instruments that explain astronomical phenomena and principles that guide its design. With expansive views of the surrounding farmland and Turtle Mountain, a working human-sized sundial and Polaris sighting tube increase the advantage of viewings during summer and winter solstices and spring and fall equinoxes.