Ride the Most Scenic Route in North Dakota

hwy 22 Badlands

Highway 22 through North Dakota is the most scenic ride through the state — and it can be the most dangerous.  Because it is scenic, riders get to gawking and miss the 25 mph curves.  So, if you’re headed on this route, follow the advice of Jackpine Gypsy, Sturgis Rally founder Pappy Hoel, “Don’t be afraid to ride slow.”

The ride starts like most North Dakota rides, lots of vistas and views, straight and open. The day I rode it to take this picture, in the 50 miles or so between Garrison and Parshall, I met a few cars outside of Garrison, but once I got away from town, I met 2 or 3 cars in a half hour’s ride.  The highway is yours, a great experience for any biker who is accustomed to riding in traffic.

As is true all across North and South Dakota, the landscape changes at the Missouri River.  Here, at Crow Flies High,  an overlook above Lake Sakakawea near New Town, on the Fort Berthold Indian
Reservation, you can check out the view, and the hills where they are about to ride.

You’re on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation when you start your ride from the north.  It’s the home of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Indian Nation.

The ride down Highway 22 from the north starts gently, with a good number of curves to negotiate.  Inexperienced riders will get a good chance to practice counter steering on the gentle curves that start the ride down in to the Badlands.

The ride descends down to the Little Missouri River and the “Lost Bridge Crossing.”

Lost Bridge at top left of image

That’s it at the top of the image here to the side.  Center right of this image shows the pull off where you can stop to stretch your legs. It’s where the historic markers were and will be again.  You can get an idea of the size of this region by the motorcycle just starting to come up the hill.

Coming up the hills from the Lost Bridge

The historic markers and storyboard for the Lost Bridge are in the shop to be refurbished, so you miss the story of the bridge that was built to accommodate ranchers, farmers and tourists, but never got a highway link.  The war shut down construction.  The bridge was “lost” in the Badlands until after the war and the highway was built.

You can access this most scenic route in North Dakota from either I-94 to the south, coming up through Killdeer which is itself a pretty ride, or you can come down from the north, from New Town or from Watford City.  Check the maps and you can enjoy a 4 or 5 hour ride around Lake Sakakawea, or just buzz through the region on your way to other points.If you ride through Killdeer and head back to the east on Highway 200 toward Beulah, Hazen and Washburn, don’t forget to return the friendly greeting left by a farmer on the hillside.

What are other scenic routes in North Dakota and nearby?

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