Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway – ND
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2005)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
- LocationND, SD
- Length34 of 350 total miles
Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway is steeped in important American history. Along the Missouri River, travelers encounter stunning grand vistas and the same routes explored by Lewis and Clark, Sakakawea, and Sitting Bull. Travel this historic, scenic byway to experience the sacred lands firsthand and relish in spectacular views of buffalo herds and eagle nests.
Story of the Byway
The Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway crosses the reservations of four tribes of Lakota Sioux: Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock.The stories and histories of the tribes are told at the Akta Lakota Museum in Chamberlain, the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, and the H.V. Johnston Lakota Cultural Center in Eagle Butte. Its many memorial markers, monuments, museums, and sacred sites commemorate the heritage of the Sioux Nation and help travelers hear history from the Native American point of view. Retrace the steps of the famous Meriwether Lewis and William Clark who stopped 14 times along the route during their expedition, and it is documented as the final resting place of Lewis and Clark’s guide, Sakakawea. The area was the home of Lakota spiritual leader Sitting Bull and is the final resting place of Lewis and Clark’s guide Sakakawea. Other famous mountain men like Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith also passed through.
The scenic byway runs parallel to the Missouri River, with rounded bluffs that make up the eastern border of the Missouri River flood plain. Prairie Knights Marina is located adjacent to Lake Oahe, a 371,000-acre lake on the Missouri River, with public access, electrical RV sites, showers, and a picnic area. With supplies of walleye, trout, and other game fish, Lake Oahe has some of the best fishing in the region. Hiking and mountain biking trails are also accessed at Prairie Knights Marina. Landscapes along the way include mixed-grass prairies and rolling hills that end in limestone cliffs lining the river in many places. An abundance of wildlife, including prairie dogs, pronghorn and deer can be spotted as you travel – not to mention bison and elk herds that are maintained by several tribes.
Herds of colossal bison roaming the vast pastures are likely to cross your path as you continue towards Fort Yates. Fort Yates is a former military post established in 1874. The only original building remaining from the town’s early military days is the Fort Yates Stockade, which is named for Captain George Yates, who met his demise at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. In its time, the fort housed soldiers and for a period, Chief Sitting Bull. While in Fort Yates, pay your respects at Sitting Bull’s original 1890 burial site. Sitting Bull is widely known for his central role in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, his contributions to the traveling Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and his fierce advocacy for his Lakota people.This site is marked and located on the drive into Fort Yates, within one mile of the scenic byway. The Hunkpapa Lakota spiritual leader’s remains were said to have been removed in 1953 to a site across from Mobridge, South Dakota, marked by a stone monument carved by famed sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. That site is located south of Grand River Casino, three miles off the South Dakota portion of the byway. The Sitting Bull Visitor Center also offers travelers useful travel information and a gift shop that sells a variety of authentic Native American arts and crafts and other unique merchandise.
Be sure to pay a visit to the Standing Rock Monument before you leave Fort Yates. The symbolic rock of the legendary petrified form of a woman and her child influenced the name of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, 2.3 million acres of picturesque prairie.
The entire byway is within the boundaries of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation and begins at the Cannonball River, continuing south along highways 1806 and 24 to Mobridge, SD. The scenic byway runs parallel to the Missouri River.
Points of Interest
Sitting Bull Burial Site State Historic Site
This site marks the original burial ground of Hunkpapa Sioux leader Sitting bull, who was killed on December 15, 1890.
Standing Rock Monument
According to the legend inscribed on the monument, this sacred stone depicts the form of a woman and her child.
Lewis And Clark Legacy Trail
Route originally mapped by Lewis and Clark, featuring three 1-mile primitive nature trails overlooking beautiful Lake Oahe. Signage is located along the trails identifying plant species and their traditional Native American uses.
Prairie Knights Casino and Resort
Luxury casino and lodge with blackjack, craps, over 700 slot machines, and 200 guest rooms.
A Legacy Drive Through North Dakota
The North Dakota section of the Standing Rock Native American Scenic Byway begins at the ND/SD border, heading north on Route 1806. Beginning at the state border, follow Route 1806 north towards Fort Yates, ND. Just before Fort Yates, Route 1806 intersects with Route 24. At this intersection, get off Route 1806 and continue north on Route 24. Watch out for herds of bison that may cross your path in the rolling pastures. Stop for a while to explore the town and the Native American history in Fort Yates, including the byway’s namesake, Standing Rock Monument, and Sitting Bull’s original burial site where he was laid to rest in 1890. Continuing north on Route 24, plan to visit the Prairie Knights Casino and Resort. There, you will find a marina adjacent to Lake Oahe with beautiful picnic spots and great fishing. From the property you can also access parts of the Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail that overlook Lake Oahe. Once back on 24, continuing north, Route 24 will again intersect with Route 1806 just before the town of Cannonball, and you will want to get back on 1806 heading north. The scenic byway concludes at the Cannonball River with picturesque views of the prairie.
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