Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2002)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
- Length63 miles
In North Dakota, known for its flat horizons, a dip into a tree-speckled valley with a snaking river and winding roadway is a welcome variation. Discover Native American, Viking, and pioneer lore along the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway. Soak up the charm of quaint towns and farmsteads along your drive and explore 27 interpretive sites that include historic sites, trails, bridges, antiques, birds, and starry nights.
Story of the Byway
Explore all that the Sheyenne River Valley has to offer by diving headfirst into a well-deserved picturesque road trip down the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway. The route presents an intimate look at the tree-lined landscape and rolling-hills that are dotted by quaint towns and farms. In addition to the beautiful scenery, along North Dakota’s first nationally recognized scenic byway, there is something for everyone — archaeology, history, culture, and recreation can all be found. There are 41 award-winning educational interpretive panels spread throughout the 63-mile drive through the iconic Sheyenne River Valley.
Beginning north of Valley City and heading south to Kathryn, Fort Ransom, and Lisbon there are a plethora of opportunities to learn about the history, culture, wildlife, archaeology, and geology of the region. Soak up the joy and coziness of the “mom and pop” shops that are sprinkled along the way. Valley City is the epitome of the renowned byway. Nestled along the Sheyenne River, Valley City houses 11 historic bridges, some of which date back to the 1890s. This lovely town that is known for its beauty is a must-see along your tour of the byway. Recognized as the City of Bridges, be sure to take a tour of the acclaimed arches and pay a visit to the Medicine Wheel Park. Other attractions in town include, 30 acres of breathtaking parkland, a perennial garden, the culturally significant medicine wheel solar calendar, as well as sacred native burial grounds. Enjoy all that this spectacular scenic route has to offer and spend some time exploring Valley City.
In Kathryn, visitors will find many attractions such as Clausen Springs Park, Waldheim Church, and Stoney Slough National Wildlife Preserve. Be sure to check out the Wadeson Cabin at the Wadeson Cabin State Historic Site. The hand-hewn oak log cabin, featuring classic dovetailed corners, was built in 1876 by Carl Jenson and his nephew on the east bank of the Sheyenne River. Since its creation, the cabin has served as a community hall, country store, pioneer home, and an icebox and is representative of life on the frontier.
As the byway winds through the hills of the Sheyenne River to Fort Ransom, discover sites such as Little Yellowstone Park, Standing Rock State Historic Site, and the Preston Town Site. Fort Ransom is a cozy town perfect for the outdoor lover. Fort Ransom State Park is the crowning gem of outdoor recreation along the byway. While at the park, visit Sunne Farm, a tribute to the homesteading days in North Dakota. Try to time your visit for one of the farm’s Sodbusters Days, which are held twice a year. Alternatively, canoe or kayak down the Sheyenne River, view the wildlife along the forested areas and open meadows, or spend the night in a yurt. In the winter, take a break to go tubing at Thrill Hills!
The byway comes to a close in the charming town of Lisbon. The Sheyenne River flows freely through town, highlighting the area’s excellent outdoor recreation offerings and outlining the quaint downtown that features a refurbished opera house and unique shopping and dining.
The Sheyenne River Scenic Byway branches out from Valley City on I-94 both to the north and to the south. The byway also contains a few scenic “spurs” which are well signed. Begins at Getchell Township Hall on Barnes County Highway 21, along Highways 17 and 19, through Valley City, proceeding on Highway 21 to Ransom County Highway 13 to Lisbon.
Points of Interest
Standing Rock Historic Site
A series of four interconnected burial mounds built primarily during the middle of the Woodland period, dating from 100 B.C. to A.D. These burial grounds or cemeteries are sacred to many American Indians.
Valley City, ND
A scenic community filled with bridges and parks, incredible outdoor recreation, unique shopping, and dining options
Clausen Springs Recreation
A 545 acre Wildlife Management Area and multi-use recreation area with a campground located 4.5 miles west and 1.5 miles south of Kathryn. The main feature of the park is Clausen Springs Lake.
A Taste of Sheyenne River Valley
Starting from Valley City, ND, heading south along the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway, enjoy this 63-mile journey through the charming countryside of North Dakota. While in Valley City, known as the City of Bridges, take a stroll down Main Street for boutique shopping and a bite to eat, stop by the Rosebud Visitor Center, and visit Medicine Wheel Park for a delightful introduction to the Sheyenne River Valley area. Continuing south along the byway, the town of Kathryn is home to the Wadeson Cabin State Historic Site that dates back to 1876. Winding southeast, stop at Standing Rock Historic Site for ancient sacred Native American burial mounds and extensive views of the valley. Then, continuing southeast, spend time in Fort Ransom at the state park for outdoor recreational activities and pay a visit to the popular quirky roadside attraction of a Viking statue that adorns a 100-foot hill in town. Finally, heading southeast, continuing along the byway, conclude your scenic drive in the town of Lisbon with a movie at the historic Scenic Theater and explore the mom-and-pop shops. 12 miles east of Lisbon, is Sheyenne National Grassland if you want to end with some more views of the landscape.
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