21 North Dakota Landmarks

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North Dakota’s landmarks and monuments tell the story of the state’s fascinating history. North Dakota is a USA state in the Upper Midwest known for its vast prairies and badlands. It’s often referred to as the Flickertail State, because of the abundance of Richardson ground squirrels that flick their tails in a distinctive way, and the Rough Rider State. However, its official nickname is the Peace Garden State.

North Dakota is named after two historically significant and massive communities, the indigenous Lakota and Dakota Sioux, but it has been inhabited by several tribes such as the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara for thousands of years. European explorers and merchants first visited North Dakota in the early 18th century, lured by the lucrative fur trade. Along with South Dakota, North Dakota was admitted to the Union as the 39th and 40th states in 1889. North Dakota’s capital is Bismarck, and the state’s largest city is Fargo. A leading producer of sunflowers, honey, wheat, beef and soybeans, farming is a leading agricultural state.

Former US President Theodore Roosevelt often referred to North Dakota as an explorer’s paradise because of its magnificent vistas that stretch for miles. North Dakota remained undisturbed and undiscovered for the most part after the Lewis and Clark expedition. Today, its natural beauty and historical significance are reflected in these incredible landmarks in North Dakota.

20 North Dakota Landmarks

Natural Landmarks in North Dakota

1- Devil’s Pass

north dakota landmarks Devils Pass
Devils Pass is one of the famous landmarks in North Dakota on the Maah Daah Hey Trail. All photos: North Dakota Tourism. 

The Maah Daah Hey Trail weaves through the Little Missouri National Grasslands in North Dakota’s Badlands and is the UA’s longest single-track biking trail.

Devil’s Pass is a narrow ridge route along this trail that drops off over 150 feet (45 m) on either side of the ridge.

The pass was once the main road through the badlands before the era of oil development in 1980.

Maah Daah Hey is a Mandan Indian term that means ‘a place that has been or will be around for a long time.’

The trail’s campgrounds have freshwater, hitching rails, picnic tables, fire rings and readily available restrooms.

Devil’s Pass is on the Maah Daah Hey Trail is at South Billings, ND 58645, USA.

2- Lake Sakakawea

Lake Sakakawea State Park is a 739-acre (299 ha) public recreation area on the southern coast of Lake Sakakawea in Mercer County.

The park is a popular getaway for anglers, boaters, campers, and swimmers who enjoy the benefits of the massive lake all year round.

It also functions as the western terminus of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches from Lake Sakakawea State Park in North Dakota to Vermont via Fort Ransom State Park.

Lake Sakakawea State Park is at Pick City, ND 58545, United States.

3- Little Missouri State Park

Little Missouri State Park is a 6,000-acre (2,400 ha) public state park on the Little Missouri River’s western coast.

The park has about 45 miles (72 km) of hiking and horse riding trails and campgrounds.

Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the streams winding through the badland’s rocky scenery.

Mule deer, coyote, fox, bobcat, and golden eagle are among the natural species that call Little Missouri State Park their home.

Little Missouri State Park is open from May to October on a seasonal basis.

Little Missouri State Park is at Highway 22, Dunn Center, ND 58626, United States.

4- Big Badlands Overlook

north dakota landmarks Badlands
Badlands scenery near Medora.

The Badlands Overlook is in the southwest corner of North Dakota near Madora.

The area is now a barren work of nature where rivers once sculpted spectacular rock patterns that wow visitors today.

The Badlands Overlook provides an excellent glimpse of the park’s geological history across a vast area, with stunning colours and frequent wildlife sightings.

The Badlands Overlook is at Medora, ND 58645, United States.

5- Devil’s Lake

Devils Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in the country.

The lake is North Dakota’s largest natural lake and is known as the ‘Perch Capital of the World’ for its abundance of walleye, northern pike and white bass.

Besides fishing, birdwatching is another popular activity here.

The first building in the city of Devil’s Lake nearby was built in 1882.

Devils Lake is in North Dakota 58301, USA.

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6- Pembina Gorge

what famous landmarks are there in north dakota Pembina Gorge
Pembina Gorge west of Walhalla is a stunning natural landmark in North Dakota.

Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area is a North Dakota state park system unit located six miles (9.7 km) west of Walhalla along the Pembina River.

Surging floodwaters formed the Pembina Gorge out of marine clay sandstone, resulting in North Dakota’s deepest and sharpest river basins.

The gorge is home to 30 species of plants and 21 animal species categorised as rare within North Dakota, such as Orange-crowned Warblers, American Woodcock and Alder Flycatchers.

Canoeing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, animal viewing and birding are attractions in the Pembina Gorge.

The Emerson border crossing between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba is 44 miles (70km) from the gorge.

Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area is at Langdon, ND 58249, United States.

7- White Butte

what is the famous landmarks of north dakota white butte
At 3506 feet above sea level, it is the highest point in North Dakota. It is located SE of Amidon, North Dakota. Photo: Jimmy Emerson/North Dakota Tourism.

White Butte (3,506 ft/1,069 m) is North Dakota’s highest peak, and its summit is within Little Missouri National Grassland’s farthest southeast corner, south of Amidon.

Little Missouri National Grassland is the country’s most extensive grassland, covering 1,033,271 acres (418,150 hectares) with prominent features such as stunning badlands and rough terrain, extensively eroded by natural forces.

The trail to hike White Butte is a four-mile roundtrip that starts on private property owned by the Dennis family, and there’s a small donation box to help maintain the area at the trailhead.

White Butte is in Little Missouri National Grassland, North Dakota.

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Historical Landmarks in North Dakota

8- The Maltese Cross Cabin

north dakota landmarks tourist attractions
The North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers breathtaking overlooks and a real chance to reconnect with nature, just a few miles south of Watford City.

The Maltese Cross Cabin was a favourite getaway of Theodore Roosevelt before he became the President of the USA.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – one of North Dakota’s most iconic attractions – is named after the United States’ 26th President and retains the stunning scenery that once captivated Mr Roosevelt.

The park is known for its vast badlands, hills and the Little Missouri River that traverses through it.

It’s split into three parts, totalling 70,446 acres (28,508 ha) – the North, South, and Elkhorn Ranch Unit.

The Maltese Cross Cabin is at Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s South Unit Visitor Center near the town of Medora and the gateway to the park.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is at 201 E River Rd, Medora, ND 58645.

9- North Dakota Heritage Center

north dakota landmarks hertage center
The bison statue at the North Dakota Heritage Center is a landmark in North Dakota that most visitors stop to admire.

The North Dakota Heritage Center is the state’s largest museum, with four museum galleries detailing the region’s rich history.

The museum displays a vast array of relics covering more than 12,000 years of North Dakota history, including items ranging from microscopic shells to colossal dinosaur bones.

The Treehouse exhibit encourages kids to learn about North Dakota life, both past and present.

North Dakota Heritage Center is at 612 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505, United States.

10- Chateau de Mores

landmarks in north dakota Chateau de Mores
Chateau de Mores State Historic Site at Medora is a historic landmark in North Dakota.

The Chateau de Mores State Historic Site commemorates the life and accomplishments of Antoine de Vallombrosa, Marquis de Mores, who came to North Dakota in 1883.

The main attractions in the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site are Chateau de Mores, De Mores Memorial Park, and Packing Plant/Chimney Park.

You can enjoy activities that combine theatre arts and history to discover the lives and times of local individuals from earlier decades.

Chateau de Mores is a 26-room, two-story building that dates back to 1883 and was once the summer residence of the Marquis’s family.

These days, the Chateau is a historic house museum with displays of original furnishings and personal effects that tell the story of the lives of the de Mores family.

Chateau de Mores State Historic Site is at 3426 Chateau Rd, Medora, ND 58645, United States.

11- Fort Buford

landmarks in north dakota Fort Buford
Fort Buford State Historic Site near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers in North Dakota is a historic landmark to visit.

Fort Buford State Historic Site preserves the ruins of a substantial frontier military station where Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux leader, surrendered in 1881.

Visitors to Fort Buford can tour the officers of the guardhouse and the field officers’ quarters museum.

The Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center is less than a half-mile from the Fort Buford State Historic Site in Williston, North Dakota.

The Center displays the area’s prehistoric, natural, tribal, and pioneer heritage.

Fort Buford And Confluence Center is at 15349 39th Ln NW, Williston, ND 58801, United States.

12- Fort Mandan Overlook State Historic Site

Fort Mandan Overlook State Historic Site is a fully furnished, full-size recreation of the fort at which the Lewis and Clark Explorers spent the winters of 1804 and 1805.

The site displays reproduction objects such as Meriwether Lewis’ field desk, William Clark’s map-making instruments, bunks the men slept in, the equipment they carried in the field, garments they wore, and the blacksmith’s forge.

Visitors can join tours and educational programs about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and explore the walking routes along the land and the river.

Fort Mandan Overlook State Historic Site is at Unnamed Road, Washburn, ND 58577, USA.

13- Fort Abraham Lincoln

north dakota famous landmarks Fort Abraham Lincoln
The night sky at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is beautiful.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, founded in 1907, is North Dakota’s oldest state park.

The park contains a reconstructed Mandan On-A-Slant Indian Village and restored military buildings such as the Custer House.

Visitors can learn about Mandan and its heritage while exploring On-a-Slant Village and its six reconstructed earthen cabins.

The park also has plenty of outdoor pursuits like camping, rental cabins and teepees, hiking, and several events and outdoor shows year-round.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is at 4480 Fort Lincoln Rd, Mandan, ND 58554, USA.

14- Fort Union Trading Post National Historical State

very famous landmarks in north dakota Fort Union Trading Post
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site was the largest trading post on the Upper Missouri River and is a famous landmark of North Dakota.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historical State is a partial replica of upper Missouri’s most prominent fur trade hub from 1829 to 1867.

The site was among the first in the United States to be declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

Visitors can learn about Fort Union Trade Post by viewing the trading room, The Bourgeois House, and going on a short hike along the Missouri River Trail.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historical State is at 15550 ND-1804, Williston, ND 58801, United States.

15- Scandinavian Heritage Park

famous landmarks in north dakota Scandinavian Heritage Village
Scandinavian Heritage Village in Minot, North Dakota is an interesting landmark to visit. Photo: Nick Perpich/North Dakota Tourism.

Scandinavian Heritage Park was founded in 1988 to commemorate and preserve Scandinavian heritage.

The park has memories and recreations of the Scandinavian regions: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.

Landmarks within the park are a 240-year-old Norwegian log home, a model stabber, a 27-foot-tall Swedish Dala horse, the Gol Stave Church Museum, a Finnish sauna, a Danish windmill, statues, a map plaza, a picnic shelter, a walking trail, and a gift shop.

Scandinavian Heritage Park is at 1020 S Broadway, Minot, ND 58701, USA.

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16- Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center

famous landmarks of north dakota Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center
Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center contains artifacts and artwork, making it a historic North Dakota landmark that aims to preserve the culture of the Chippewa, Cree and Michif (Metis) people.

The Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center first opened in 1981.

The Heritage Center aims to preserve the cultural history of the Chippewa, Cree, and Michif (Metis) inhabitants of North Dakota adjacent to the Canadian border.

The centre has some interesting sculptures that show off the woodworking, weaving, and sculpting skills of the Turtle Mountain people.

Educational programs and workshops help people learn about their history and culture.

Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center is at 3959 Sky Dancer Way NE, Belcourt, ND 58316, United States.

17- World’s Largest Buffalo

north dakota landmarks buffalo statue
World’s largest buffalo at Frontier Village in Jamestown is a famous North Dakota landmark.

In 1959, artist Elmer Petersen created the World’s Largest Buffalo Monument.

The artwork is 26 feet (7.9 m) tall and a 60-ton concrete monster that has stood watch over Jamestown.

The buffalo was formally titled “Dakota Thunder” in 2010, after more than 50 years of unnamed fame.

The buffalo is surrounded by the Frontier Village and the National Buffalo Museum, which houses a herd of living bison.

World’s Largest Buffalo And National Buffalo Museum are at 404 Louis Lamour Ln, Jamestown, ND 58401, United States.

18- The Peace Chapel

north dakota major landmarks International Peace Gardens
Drone photo of the International Peace Gardens in full bloom.

The Peace Chapel is a unique landmark in North Dakota and the only building within the International Peace Garden that straddles two countries.

One of the unique aspects of the garden is it straddles the USA and Canadian border, where part of the garden sits in North Dakota while part of it is in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

The chapel is a tranquil monument within the International Peace Garden, built in 1932 as a monument towards peace, friendship and cooperation among nations.

The garden covers an area of 2,300 acres (930 ha) and has two freshwater lakes, scenic hiking and driving routes, wildflowers, waterfalls, and is home to birds and animals.

There’s an 18-foot (5.5m) floral clock exhibit and lovely fountains.

Other highlights are the Carillon Bell Tower, Peace Poles presented by the Japanese government with ‘May Peace Prevail’ written in 28 languages.

International Peace Garden is at 10939 Highway 281, Dunseith, ND 58329.

19- Knife River Indian Villages

north dakota landmarks Knife River Indian Villages
The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site celebrates the people that have made this region home for perhaps 11,000 years. The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes established permanent villages in this area. This is also the area where Sakakawea joined Lewis and Clark on the Corps of Discovery.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site was established in 1974 to preserve the history of the Hidatsa, or Northern Plains Indians.

The Knife River Indian Villages allows visitors to learn about the lives of Northern Plains Indians in Upper Missouri.

At the site, there are ruins of earth-lodge homes and cache pits.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is at 564 County Rd 37, Stanton, ND 58571, United States.

20- The Enchanted Highway

historical landmarks in north dakota Geese in Flight
‘Geese in Flight’ is the largest landmark along the Enchanted Highway, standing beside I-94 at the Gladston exit.

The Enchanted Highway is a cluster of the world’s largest metal scrap artworks created by sculptor Gary Greff to boost tourism in North Dakota.

Whimsical pieces appear on this 32-mile (51 km) stretch of North Dakota’s Regency-Gladstone Road.

Geese in Flight, World’s Largest Tin Family, Teddy Rides Again, Pheasants on the Prairie, Grasshoppers in the Field, Deer Crossing and Fisherman’s Dream are among the sculptures, each unique and worthy of your time.

Picnic spots and playground activities are built next to each sculpture for tourists.

Enchanted Highway is at 607 Main St, Regent, ND 58650, United States.

21- Salem Sue

north dakota landmarks Salem Sue
Salem Sue is the World’s Largest Holstein Cow and one of the landmarks in North Dakota that kids will love.

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Christina Pfeiffer Travel Writer
Christina Pfeiffer is a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia. She has lived in three continents and her career as a travel journalist has taken her to all seven continents. Since 2003, she has contributed travel stories and photographs to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. She has won many travel writing awards and is a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.