One Tank Trip for North Dakota Camping

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July 23, 2010

North Dakota one tank trip route mapThis One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory.

Visitors to North Dakota have a diverse range of expectations when it comes to their vacation, but one thing everyone agrees on is that there are fewer places on the map where you’ll receive a warmer, friendlier welcome. It’s fitting, then, that “Dakota” is the Sioux word for “friend.”

Starting this one tank trip in Medora, you’ll discover a few interesting tidbits about this area. Founded by a French nobleman in the late 1800s, Medora was a thriving boomtown for many years. A few years later, Theodore Roosevelt arrived on the scene, originally to hunt buffalo. He fell in love with the area and built two cattle ranches within easy range of Medora. As a result, Medora serves as the entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Among the many spectacular features to be found here is the Coal Vein Trail, which takes you through an area where a fire burned for nearly 30 years, thereby giving the rocks an unearthly purple color. A fantastic way to enjoy this area is with a horseback ride down the Maah Daah Hey Trail, which runs nearly 100 miles through the park and connects the north and south sides. This ride offers us a mix of scenery, from rolling grasslands to majestic buttes, and runs parallel to the Missouri River. While in Medora, you can enjoy a tour through the Cowboy Hall of Fame, or maybe you’d like to knock a few golf balls around at the award-winning Bully Pulpit Golf Course. Click on the link below to find North Dakota camping options in Medora.

Drive east on the I-94 for 15 miles until you come to the northbound US-85, which takes you through 66 miles of incredibly attractive scenery before you come to the ranching community of Watford City. Give your legs a good stretch with a walk around the paved trail that envelops the city, then cool down with a trip to the Wild West Water Park, or set up camp by the banks of the Yellowstone River. Get a taste of exploration by heading up the Lewis and Clark Trail, or rent a boat and enjoy a day of fishing on Lake Sakakawea. Anyone who enjoys being outdoors will want to return to Watford City again and again.

Back on the road, cruise east on the ND-23 for 30 miles, then take the southbound ND-22 for 65 miles into the town of Dickinson, home to – among other things – the Dakota Dinosaur Museum. This fascinating facility offers us a rare, up-close look at various prehistoric fossils, several full-size dinosaur displays, and a genuine triceratops skeleton. Another exhibit showcases meteorites, including some that were originally part of Mars, as well as from our own moon.

Sometimes, the journey can be just as interesting as arriving at one’s destination. A good example of this philosophy is the Enchanted Highway, which connects Dickinson with the town of Regent. Leaving Dickinson by way of the eastbound I-94, you’ll come to the exit for the southbound Enchanted Highway in about 10 miles. As you cruise down this unique stretch of road, you’ll be treated to a series of metal sculptures that are the incredible work of one very talented artist. Flocks of geese, gigantic grasshoppers, a 75-foot tall buck jumping over a fence, and even Teddy Roosevelt himself, are among the many displays presented in sculpted metal. There’s nothing quite like it.

As your tour through the land of enchantment comes to an end in Regent, drop in to the sculptor’s office and get a glimpse at what projects are in the works, or pick up a souvenir of this offbeat leg of your trip in the Enchanted Highway gift shop. Then, head west on the ND-21 for 14 miles before angling north on Highway 22, which you’ll stay on for 9 more miles until you reach the city limits of New England. This aptly named town has the charm of a New England village, while possessing a personality and appeal all its own. This is a quiet, peaceful region, where you can pull your rig over and escape into nature, with plenty of hunting and fishing and North Dakota camping opportunities available.

Continuing west for 16 miles on the ND-21 brings you to the northbound US-85, which you’ll take for a little over 20 miles into Belfield. This community is positioned on the banks of the Heart River, which means you’ll find a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as strolling down the walking trail that runs through town, or hiking up to Belfield Dam.

Medora’s just a short hop away, a mere 15 miles further west on the I-94, but since Belfield is extremely RV-friendly, maybe you’d rather just pull over and go with the local flow for a while on this last one tank trip stop.

See a list of Woodall’s Recommended North Dakota RV Campgrounds.

Planning a North Dakota camping trip? Don’t miss this other great route on one tank of fuel:
2009 North Dakota One Tank Trip
2008 North Dakota One Tank Trip

For a complete list of one tank trip camping routes, go to

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