Traveling the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

The Enchanted Highway in Western North Dakota

If you are at all interested in the whimsical, unique and humongous roadside attractions of this great country, then a drive down the amazing Enchanted Highway in North Dakota is a MUST!!

On April 2, 2013, I finally had the opportunity to drive one of the “Bucket List” trips for me in all of my travels across the country.  The 32 mile drive features a number of pieces of the amazing artwork of retired Regent, ND school teacher Gary Greff who has taken on this effort in order to keep the small dying town from becoming a ghost town.  I hope to have a pretty comprehensive overview of the entire route, including the map below and detailed directions, mileage, photos and even some details about each stop along the way.


The Enchanted Highway – from I-94 near Dickinson to Regent, ND

GEESE IN FLIGHT – STOP #1

To get started you must get to Exit 72 on I-94 east of Dickinson, ND.  You most certainly cannot miss the first stop, which is called “Geese in Flight” and has been listed as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world by the Guinness World Book of Records.

"Geese in Flight" - Stop #1 on Enchanted Highway. Off of I-94, Exit 72
“Geese in Flight” – Stop #1 on Enchanted Highway. Off of I-94, Exit 72
Sumoflam at Geese in Flight
Sumoflam at Geese in Flight

“Geese in Flight”, in my opinion, not only has the geese, but the giant backdrop appears to look like a giant eye looking out towards the Enchanted Highway. For my trip south on the Enchanted Highway, this is Mile Point 0 (zero).

The road to geese in flight, lined with dozens of metal geese
The road to Geese in Flight, lined with dozens of metal geese all the way to the top of the hill
One of the dozen of small geese lining the road to Geese in Flight
One of the dozens of small geese lining the road to Geese in Flight

This piece was erected in 2001 and weighs over 78 tons.  The main structure is 154 feet wide and 110 feet tall.  The largest goose has a wingspan of 30 feet.  On a clear day this structure can be seen from nearly 5 miles away (it was a clear day for us – thank goodness!!).  Gary Greff used oil tanks and oil well pipe for the materials to construct this humongous piece of art.

Giant Goose on the Structure - 30 foot wing span
Giant Goose on the Structure – 30 foot wing span
Close up of Geese in Flight
Close up of Geese in Flight
Geese in Flight from Google Maps satellite shot
Geese in Flight from Google Maps satellite shot
View of "Deer Crossing" from "Geese in Flight", about 3 miles away
View of “Deer Crossing” from “Geese in Flight”, about 3 miles away

DEER CROSSING – STOP #2

The drive from Stop 1 “Geese in Flight” to Stop 2 “Deer Crossing” is about 3.4 miles.  As shown above, you can see Deer Crossing and the Enchanted Highway from the top of the “Geese in Flight” hill.

Enchanted Highway Stop #2 - 'Deer Crossing"
“Deer Crossing” – Stop #2 on the Enchanted Highway
Sumoflam at Deer Crossing
Sumoflam at Deer Crossing

“Deer Crossing” is one of the newer works by Mr. Greff.  It was erected in 2002 just a bit south of the small town of Gladstone. The jumping buck is 75 feet tall and 60 feet long.  The doe is 50 feet long and 50 feet tall.  Mr. Greff used oil well tanks for the material to construct this.

Geese in Flight as seen from Deer Crossing
Geese in Flight as seen from Deer Crossing – over 3 miles away
Deer Crossing as seen from Google Map Satellite
Deer Crossing as seen from Google Map Satellite

GRASSHOPPERS IN THE FIELD – STOP #3

The next stop on the trek south to Regent is “Grasshoppers in the Field”.  It is about 12 miles down the road from “Deer Crossing”.  You must pass the small — nearly ghost town — of Lefor, ND before the giant grasshoppers appear on the right side of the road.

First sight of "Grasshoppers"
First sight of “Grasshoppers in the Field” as seen coming south from Lefor, SD
Giant Grasshopper
Giant Grasshopper

Unlike the first two on the drive, “Grasshoppers in the Field” was a complex set of sculptures.   There is one large grasshopper and a couple of smaller ones.  As well, Mr. Greff had added large strands of wheat to the sculpture (made of metal of course!!).  The design of the grasshoppers was similar to the Balsa Wood animals and insects that can be purchased at hobby shops.

Medium Grasshopper
Medium Grasshopper
Wheat and Grasshopper
Wheat and Grasshopper
Closeup of Giant Grasshopper
Closeup of Giant Grasshopper

All of the grasshoppers have stringed lighting so I am assuming they can be lit up at night as well.  This work was completed in 1999.  The Giant Grasshopper 60 feet long and 40 feet tall.  The Medium Grasshopper is 24 feet long and 12 feet tall.  Some of the wheat pieces are well over 40 feet tall.  Fuel tanks and oil well tanks were the predominant materials used for these pieces.

Sumoflam with Giant Grasshopper
Sumoflam with Giant Grasshopper
Grasshoppers in the Field looking north
Grasshoppers in the Field looking north
Grasshoppers in the Field as seen from Google Maps Satellite view
Grasshoppers in the Field as seen from Google Maps Satellite view

FISHERMAN’S DREAM – STOP #4

Fisherman's Dream
Fisherman’s Dream

The next stop on the Enchanted Highway is the newest of Mr. Greff’s creations.  Called “Fisherman’s Dream”, this complex and beautiful work is 14.8 miles south of the “Grasshoppers in the Field”.  Greff completed this work in 2007.  It includes 6 large fish of different sizes including a 60 or 70 foot leaping trout going after a giant dragonfly.

60 foot tall trout - centerpiece of "Fisherman's Dream"
60-70 foot tall trout grabbing dinner – centerpiece of “Fisherman’s Dream”
Fisherman's Dream as seen from "underwater"
Fisherman’s Dream as seen from “underwater”

I must say that I was most impressed with this stop more than any of the others.  All of them are impressive, but the use of colors, the variety, the complexity of the fish scales and even the use of the small fisherman in the boat was just fabulous.

Giant Catfish at "Fisherman's Dream"
Giant Catfish at “Fisherman’s Dream”
Giant Blue Gill at "Fisherman's Dream"
Giant Blue Gill at “Fisherman’s Dream”
Another fish
Another fish
Happy Fisherman at "Fisherman's Dream" floating on the lake
Happy Fisherman at “Fisherman’s Dream” floating on the lake
Another view of "Fisherman's Dream"
Another view of “Fisherman’s Dream”
Sumoflam at "Fisherman's Dream"
Sumoflam at “Fisherman’s Dream”
Fisherman's Dream as seen from Google Maps satellite view
Fisherman’s Dream as seen from Google Maps satellite view

PHEASANTS ON THE PRAIRIE – STOP #5

Pheasants in the Field as seen approaching from the north
Pheasants on the Prairie as seen approaching from the north

Continuing south for about 4.5 miles from “Fisherman’s Dream” is the next stop, called “Pheasants on the Prairie”.  This is also a quite impressive work of art with a giant rooster and hen and their three chicks.

Pheasant Chicks as seen from the Road
Pheasant Chicks as seen from the Road

This work was erected between 1996 and 1997.  The pheasant rooster weighs over 13,000 pounds and is 70 feet long and over 40 feet tall.  The hen weighs 12,000 pounds and is 60 feet long and 35 feet tall. Each of the chicks are about 5000 pounds and are about 20 feet long and 15 feet tall.  Greff used pipe and wire mesh to construct these.  Ironically, the mesh construction was conducive for numerous birds to build nests in!!

The Hen at Pheasants on the Prairie - over 12,000 pounds of bird
The Hen at Pheasants on the Prairie – over 12,000 pounds of bird
The Rooster at Pheasants on the Prairie weighs over 13,000 pounds is over 40 feet tall.
The Rooster at Pheasants on the Prairie weighs over 13,000 pounds is over 40 feet tall
Chicks looking down - make you feel like you are bird food
Chicks looking down – make you feel like you are bird food
Sumoflam at Pheasants on the Prairie
Sumoflam at Pheasants on the Prairie
Pheasants on the Prairie as seen from Google Maps satellite view
Pheasants on the Prairie as seen from Google Maps satellite view

TEDDY RIDES AGAIN – STOP #6

Teddy Rides Again as seen approaching from the north
Teddy Rides Again as seen approaching from the north

The next stop is quite different from most of the others.  It is about 2.2 miles south of the “Pheasants on the Prairie” and honors the inventor of the National Park System in the United States. This is more like a giant wire sculpture of Teddy Roosevelt.  Erected in 1993 out of well pipes, it is 51 feet tall and weighs over 9000 pounds.  This little park also includes a small wooden stage coach being pulled by horses.

Closeup of Teddy Roosevelt
Closeup of Teddy Roosevelt
The Wooden Horses at "Teddy Rides Again"
The Wooden Horses at “Teddy Rides Again”
Another view of the Stagecoach
Another view of the Stagecoach
Sumoflam at Teddy Rides Again
Sumoflam at Teddy Rides Again
Teddy Rides Again as seen on Google Maps satellite view
Teddy Rides Again as seen on Google Maps satellite view

THE TIN FAMILY – STOP #7

The Tin Family as seen approaching from the north
The Tin Family as seen approaching from the north

The last big stop on the road to Regent is the Tin Family.   It is about 3.4 miles south of “Teddy Rides Again” and can be seen for a distance before you get there.  This one has a Dad, a Mom and a son. The Dad is 45 feet tall, the Mom is 44 feet tall and the boy is 23 feet tall.  Mr. Greff used farm tanks, telephone poles, barbed wire and augers to make these, the first of his sculptures.

Mom and Dad and "Tin Family" Kiosk
Mom and Dad and “Tin Family” Kiosk

As can be seen in the photo above, each of the sites has an informative kiosk that notes the name of the work, notes the names of donors and other information.

Mom Closeup
Mom Closeup
Mom's Flower Bouquet
Mom’s Flower Bouquet
Dad Closeup
Dad Closeup
The boy and sucker closeup
The boy and sucker closeup
The whole Tin Family
The whole Tin Family
Sumoflam with Mom and Dad
Sumoflam with Mom and Dad
Tin Family as seen from Google Maps satellite view
Tin Family as seen from Google Maps satellite view

REGENT, NORTH DAKOTA – STOP #8

Welcome to Regent and Enchanted Highway Road Map
Welcome to Regent and Enchanted Highway

Continuing south from the Tin Family about 1.9 miles you pull into the small town of Regent.  Though we arrived around lunch time on a Tuesday (April 2), the town was pretty much dead.  There was a gas station (and believe me…you better fill up here!!) and a small grocery store.  We inquired about cafes and there were two and both were closed.  Even the Enchanted Highway Visitor Center was closed.  Off season I guess.

Enchanted Highway art in downtown Regent, ND
Enchanted Highway art in downtown Regent, ND – whirlygigs and more
Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in Regent, ND - closed the day were there
Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in Regent, ND – closed the day were there
More Enchanted Highway Scenes in Regent, ND
More Enchanted Highway Scenes in Regent, ND – the bison are all fabricated metal
End of the Road - Enchanted Hotel in Regent, ND
End of the Road – Enchanted Castle Hotel in Regent, ND – even has a Drawbridge!!

After filling up with gas, we meandered our way to the end of Main Street to see the Enchanted Castle Hotel, which was apparently built from an old school.  We didn’t have time to stop there as we continued to head south.

Enchanted Highway Kiosk
Enchanted Highway Kiosk

The Enchanted Highway makes for a great diversionary trip, especially if you plan to head south to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills.  Definitely one of the Dream Places!!

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Road Trip to Idaho – Day 2: Savage, MN to Miles City, MT

Rural Scene on Enchanted Highway, South of Gladstone, ND
Rural Scene on Enchanted Highway, South of Gladstone, ND

I embarked on Day 2 of my trip to Idaho – left Savage, MN in the midst of snow and fog.  The roads were scary heading northwest to Fargo, ND.

Snowy highways in Minnesota
Snowy highways in Minnesota

Today (March 9, 2013) was the second leg of my trip to Idaho.  Today I drove from Savage, MN to Miles City, MT.  I drove 781 miles over a 14 hour stretch.  Following is the map of the trip.


View Larger Map

My first stop along the way was for gas.  I stopped in Avon, MN…..which, I discovered, is also the home of the Lake Wobegon Trail.  The trail is 46 miles long and 10 feet wide.  It opened in 1998.  Avon is the home of the Lake Wobegon Trails Association.  Garrison Keillor, the creator of Lake Wobegon and the Prairie Home Companion show, lived in Avon at one time.

Avon, Minnesota
Avon, Minnesota
Lake Wobegon Trail
Lake Wobegon Trail
Wobegon Park, Avon, MN
Wobegon Park, Avon, MN
Wall Mural on laundromat in Avon, MN
Wall Mural on laundromat in Avon, MN
Wall Mural in Avon, MN
Wall Mural in Avon, MN

From Avon I proceeded north to Ashby, MN.  This is home to a large metal Coot statue, which is what I was looking for.  But, as I often discover, the town is also a quaint little place.

Ashby, Minnesota
Ashby, Minnesota
Coot Statue, Ashby, MN
Coot Statue, Ashby, MN

The coot statue stand outsides of town on Highway 78 and represents the largest Ashby area sportsmen club, Coots Unlimited (a parody of Ducks Unlimited).  There is more about it here.

Man walking road in Ashby, MN
Man walking road in Ashby, MN
Mural in Ashby, MN
Mural in Ashby, MN
Ashby, MN Water Tower in the fog
Ashby, MN Water Tower in the fog

From Ashby I proceeded north to Fergus Falls, MN.  The roads were a little better and my GPS had me taking a back road.  I was headed first to the Continental Divide Marker and site, which was built in 2000.

Continental Divide Plaque - Fergus Falls, MN
Continental Divide Plaque – Fergus Falls, MN
Downtown Fergus Falls
Downtown Fergus Falls

From Fergus Falls I continued heading northwest on I-94.  The roads were still icy, but had cleared up somewhat.  I then took a quick swing off at Exit 38 (Rothsay) to get a photo of the 14 foot tall, 9200 pound cement prairie chicken statue.  I have been here before (as well as a good part of the drive thru North Dakota – see my posts from 2005) .  This time I was able to get a more unique view of the giant bird.

Greater Prairie Chicken Statue - Rothsay, MN
Greater Prairie Chicken Statue – Rothsay, MN

I then got back on the freeway and fought more fog.  But the fog and snow make for interesting views that one would not see on a clear day.  Many trees took on shadowy shapes.

Tree in fog - northwest Minnesota as seen from I-94
Tree in fog – northwest Minnesota as seen from I-94

Along the road I found a road sign that provided the perfect description of this day’s trip had been to this point – Downer, MN (exit 15 heading north)

Downer, MN - Great description of the day
Downer, MN – Great description of the day

Ironically, shortly after Downer, things cleared up again, just in time for my entrance into the border town of Moorhead, MN. Moorhead has a Norwegian population and is home to the Hjemkomst Center, which houses a replica Viking ship and the beautiful is the Stave Church, a symbol of the Norwegian heritage in the Red River Valley. Built by Guy Paulson, the church is a full-scale replica of the Hopperstad Church in Vik, Norway. Norwegian Stave churches were built just after the close of the Viking Age in Scandinavia in the 1100 and 1200’s. The technique of using vertical posts-or staves- had been modified over time to become wooden architectural works of art.

Stave Church Replica - Moorhead, MN
Stave Church Replica – Moorhead, MN
Snowy Road in Moorhead
Snowy Road in Moorhead

From Moorhead I entered Fargo, ND and continued heading west on I-94. I passed thru Fargo so I could get to other sights along the road (and to also get out of the miserable snow!!) My first stop in North Dakota was Jamestown. Jamestown is known as the “Buffalo City” and one can find all kinds of Buffalo things, including “the World’s Largest Buffalo” statue the National Buffalo Museum.

Frontier Village - Jamestown, ND
Frontier Village – Jamestown, ND
Chuckwagon Cafe - Jamestown, ND
Chuckwagon Cafe – Jamestown, ND  They offer a      4 Meat Buffet what ever that is
World's Largest Buffalo - Jamestown, ND
World’s Largest Buffalo – Jamestown, ND

The “World’s Largest Buffalo” is a in Frontier Village. It was commissioned in 1959 by local businessman Harold Newman, and built by art students from Jamestown College, under the supervision of art instructor and designer, Elmer Peterson. It is visible from Interstate 94, overlooking the city from above the James River valley. The statue is 26 feet tall, 46 feet long and weighs 60 tons. It was constructed with stucco and cement around a steel beam frame shaped with wire mesh.

World's Largest Sand Hill Crane - Steele, ND
“Sandy” – The World’s Largest Sand Hill Crane – Steele, ND

Further west on I-94 is the small town of Steele, ND. There are about 800 people and one silver Big Bird! “Sandy”, as she is known, is a 40 foot tall 4.5 ton bird.  It was constructed of rolled sheet metal welded onto a steel inner frame, which was built in three different sections.  It was created in 1999 by James Miller, a resident of Arena, ND.  The crane was built to bring attention to the fact that the Steele area is one of the best birding destinations in North America. Sandhill Cranes are some of the migratory species that nest here.

Silo Family as seen from I-94 near Steele, ND
Silo Family as seen from I-94 near Steele, ND

I loved the shot above.  Tons of fun…

I finally made it to Bismarck, ND where I had a couple more interesting stops.  Bismarck borders the Missouri River and there are a number of parks along river road.  One is Keelboat Park.  There is a large four headed thunderbird statue at the park and it is uber impressive. The sculpture represents a powerful American Indian spirit that depicts thunderstorms.

Thunderbird Statue - Keelboat Park, Bismarck, ND
Thunderbird Statue – Keelboat Park, Bismarck, ND
Sumoflam and Thunderbirds
Sumoflam and the Thunderbirds
Lewis and Clark Sculpture - Keelboat Park
Lewis and Clark Sculpture – Keelboat Park
Grant Marsh Bridge over Missouri River in Bismarck
Missouri River High Bridge over Missouri River in Bismarck

In Pioneer Park along the Missouri River, there is a fairly new sculpture called “Rising Eagle”, which was made by art students from the United Tribes Technical College.  Dedicated in 2007, it was vandalized in 2010 and had to be rebuilt.

Rising Eagle Sculpture in Pioneer Park, Bismarck, ND
Rising Eagle Sculpture in Pioneer Park, Bismarck, ND
Rising Eagle Sculpture from the Front
Rising Eagle Sculpture from the Front

As I continued west of Bismarck on I-94, the weather was finally cleared up and there were sunny skies.  The views looked great.

I-94 west of Bismarck, ND
I-94 west of Bismarck, ND

A couple of miles before Exit 72 (about 20 miles east of Dickinson, ND) I could begin seeing the following HUGE sculpture by local artist Gary Greff (from Regent, ND).  Greff began his projects in 1989 and continues work today through donations from local people and many others. Named “Geese in Flight,” it is the gateway to the famous “Enchanted Highway” and is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture.”

Gate to Enchanted Highway - Flying Geese
Gate to Enchanted Highway – “Geese in Flight” – created in 2001

Built in 2001, “Geese in Flight” is 154 feet long and 110 feet tall and weighs over 78.8 tons.  The largest flying goose has a wingspan of 30 feet. Gary Greff used oil tanks and oil well pipe to make it.  I kind of envision the big “eye” in the middle as looking over the Enchanted Highway.

Flying Geese from Satellite (as pulled from Google Maps)
Flying Geese from Satellite (as pulled from Google Maps)

The Enchanted is a 32 mile stretch of road beginning at Exit 72 on I-94 and then going south through Gladstone and then all the way to Regent, ND.  Along the way there are a number of sculptures.  Greff even made dozens of small geese that line the nice dirt road up to the Flying Geese sculpture.

Geese along road
Geese along road

From the Flying Geese, I did go south through Gladstone and then on for another 10 miles.

Grain Elevator
Grain Elevator – Gladstone

Then about three miles down the road, is “Deer Crossing,” the second of the huge sculptures down the road.  The buck is 60 feet long and 75 feet tall.  The doe is 50 feet tall and 50 feet long.  These were erected in 2002.

"Deer Crossing" on Enchanted Highway
“Deer Crossing” on Enchanted Highway
Deer Crossing from satellite
Deer Crossing from satellite
Flying Geese as seen from Deer Crossing
Flying Geese as seen from Deer Crossing

I continued south in hopes of seeing more and made it ten miles to the “almost” ghost town of Lefor.  The prairie scenery was great.

Rural Scene on Enchanted Highway, South of Gladstone, ND
Rural Scene on Enchanted Highway, South of Gladstone, ND
More scenery on the Enchanted Highway
More scenery on the Enchanted Highway

I made it to Lefor and gave up as I had more traveling to do to get to Miles City, Montana for the night.

Remnants of old bank in Lefor
Remnants of old bank in Lefor

There are a number of other giant sculptures along the road south of Lefor, including a 60 foot grasshopper, pheasants on the prairie (including a 60 foot long pheasant), a 51 foot tall Teddy Roosevelt and a “Fisherman’s Dream”, which was completed in 2007 and includes a metal fish leaping up 70 feet through a metal pond surface.  Someday I hope to get back there to see all of these.  At the end of the road Greff has built an Enchanted Castle Hotel for the final enchanting stop.

I returned back through Gladstone and took a quick spin through the town and caught one final small statue:

Small Metal Sculpture in Gladstone
Small Metal Sculpture in Gladstone

I made way to Dickinson and then on to the border of North Dakota and Montana.

Sunset in North Dakota
Sunset in North Dakota

I was surprised to see that there was even a Beach in North Dakota!!

Welcome to Beach, ND
Welcome to Beach, ND
Beach, ND
Beach, ND

After a long day I made it to the hotel in Miles City, Montana.  Hotel sweet hotel…..

 

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