Welcome! Here we go!

Let’s continue our drive north on the most scenic highway through the Badlands, Highway 22.  Our journey started in Dickinson and north with stops in New Hradec, Manning and Killdeer.  Here’s the first installment.

Our road trip will head north and eventually end near New Town.  It includes history, culture, landscape, and recreation.  

Points 1, 2, 3, and 4 are here

5. Killdeer Mountains

Scenic Highway 22 and killdeer mountains

scenic Killdeer Mountains

A scenic detour from the scenic byway includes a gravel road to the Killdeer Mountains.

Those tall hills north you’ve been seeing as you drove north are eight miles from Killdeer. They are the Killdeer Mountains and in the area, you can find the historic Killdeer Mountain Battlefield.  This geologic monument holds stories of the past for the Sioux nation and the ranchers who settled nearby.

Scenic 22 Killdeer Mountains

The Killdeer Mountains, though not really “mountains” are huge landmarks for history, including the Killdeer Mountain Battle, a bloody fight that began in southern Minnesota.

The major historic draw is the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield of 1864. To get to the terrain of the region, you’ll have to turn off Highway 22 and drive on well-marked roads.  Once at the historic site, you’ll find a pull off where you can read and visualize the events there nearly 150 years ago. 

scenic highway 22 killdeer battlefield

Follow the signs to the historic battlefield site.

Nearby is the remnants of the cowboy town of Oakdale born about 1895. Its lively history is told by ranchers who run their cattle nearby.







6. Little Missouri State Park

Little Missouri State Park

Traveling northward, notice how the scenery becomes more enticing as you put the Killdeer Mountains in your rearview mirror. You’re approaching the famous North Dakota Badlands. The landscape reaches its climax at the Little Missouri State Park.  This is where the Badlands are the most rugged because this is the “youngest” region of the badlands. 

Autum leaves are beginning to show their colors in mid-September at the Little Missouri State Park.

Autumn leaves are beginning to show their colors in mid-September at the Little Missouri State Park.

It is actually still being formed with slides and slumps altering the landscape.  The view is stunning, and you are invited to get out of your car and take a walk. 

A blue sign post points visitors to the continuation of the trail.

Blue marked trails are intermediate in difficulty and are some of the most popular.


Trails are graded from easy to difficult, so people can take a short easy hike, or venture out on the more challenging trails.




7. Lost Bridge

Back on Highway 22, headed north, you’ll cross the rim of the valley and go down the hill to the Little Missouri River and the Lost Bridge.

Little Missouri River Wyoming

Near the headwaters of the Little Missouri River in Wyoming.

The river begins near Devils Tower, Wyoming and was a reference point for cowboys on cattle drives bringing herds north from Texas.

Looking south from the Lost Bridge.

At the bottom of the Little Missouri River Valley, you are treated to a view of the Badlands that extends for many hundreds of miles south and west of this point.  The original “Lost Bridge” once crossed the Little Missouri River, but it’s been gone since 1994. 

Scenic Highway 22 Little Missouri River North Dakota Badlands

Less than 10 miles of where the Little Missouri River finishes its cut through the North Dakota Badlands.


Built in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, it stood untouched and unused until a gravel road that became Highway 22 connected to it in 1953. That’s why it was called the Lost Bridge.  That original “through-truss” steel bridge was replaced with the modern concrete bridge in 1994.

scenic highway 22 lost bridge 1922

1922 Lost Bridge, still on a gravel road at the time. 30 years later, a highway was built to the bridge.


Coming Up

Next week, we’ll continue our trip down Highway 22, the Most Scenic Highway through the Badlands — maybe the most scenic highway in North Dakota!  We’re headed through the Fort Berthold Reservation, next week.  Come back.  Add your email and you’ll get a note in your inbox when it’s posted.

Check back Monday for the amazing story of Three Toes and what it took to bring him in.  Subscribe to get a note in your inbox when the Three Toes story is posted.

Leave your comments, here. Or “like” us on Facebook to chat with the other lovers of the Beautiful Badlands.

Here’s a tip:

Want another nearby scenic stop that few if anyone knows about?  Here are two:
Lake Ilo
Little Missouri Bay Recreation Area


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