Thursday, August 11, 2022

MENU

A magical ride along North Dakota’s Enchanted Highway

If you find yourself in western North Dakota near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, take a magical detour along the Enchanted Highway off I-94.

Enchanted Highway

The 90-foot high ‘Geese in Flight,’ at Exit 72 off I-94, begins the Enchanted Highway. (North Dakota Tourism)

Back in the late 1980s, retired teacher Gary Greff was looking for ways to entice travelers off Interstate 94 to his tiny hometown of Regent, population 160. Inspired by the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” and its catchphrase “Build it, and they will come,” Greff figured he could create giant whimsical sculptures that celebrate North Dakota and maybe lure tourists 32 miles south of I-94.

Seven giant sculptures

Over a 30-year period, the self-taught welder erected seven colossal scrap metal artworks along a scenic two-lane highway. Beginning the journey is the 90-foot high “Geese in Flight,” (2001) at Exit 72 off I-94. Then, heading south on the Regent to Gladstone country road, travelers will find six additional huge open-air art pieces complete with pullouts and picnic tables.

Next comes “Deer Crossing” (2002), two “stylistic deer jumping an enormous fence” near Gladstone. This and the remaining sculptures, including “Grasshoppers in the Field” (1996) in Lefor, ND, are placed several miles apart.

“Fisherman’s Dream” in Regent, ND. (ndtourism.com)

A personal favorite is “Fisherman’s Dream” (2006), that “depicts metal trout and bass leaping 70 feet through the suspended surface of a North Dakota lake,” according to North Dakota Tourism. As you leave each art installation a green road sign tells what’s ahead and how far to the next art piece.

Continue winding your way through the rolling hills of southwest North Dakota and you will encounter “Pheasants on the Prairie” (1996) near Regent, ND. It features a pheasant family, each adult more than 50-feet long.

Next in the Roughrider State is “Teddy Rides Again” (1993) in Regent, ND. This art construction includes “a four-horse stagecoach; and a giant Roughrider Teddy Roosevelt astride a rearing horse, Lone Ranger-style.”

‘The Tin Family’ by Gary Greff. (Carol M Highsmiths, Library of Congress)

Just 1.5 miles north of Regent is “The Tin Family” (1991), the first to be built. In Regent, the gift store features miniatures of each statue. In 2012, Greff opened a motel, The Enchanted Castle, continuing the theme of the Enchanted Highway. Travelers can relax in the motel and restaurant, enjoying hot meals and a tavern.

Vision of One Man

One big point to remember is that without the vision of one man, self-taught artist Gary Greff, this inspirational byway adventure would never have happened. Very little “public” money was used in the construction of this creative, uplifting, vast public arts creation. According to RoadsideAmerica.com, on “most days it’s just Gary out on the Highway. He does all the repairs, cuts the grass under the statues, and builds the parking areas and fences.” 

“The state of North Dakota provided $75,000 in its 2019-2020 budget to assist Greff in maintaining the sculptures; prior to that year, he had used his own money and donations to pay for upkeep,” according to Wikipedia.

If you go

Enchanted Highway
Begin at I-94, Exit 72, near Gladstone, ND
Travel south along Regency-Gladstone Road 32 miles to Regent, ND.

North Dakota RV Camping Information

Eight-day RV Itinerary of North Dakota.

Just as early explorers pulled their own covered wagons, many of today’s tourists travel with recreation vehicles. To help with planning your route, the folks at North Dakota Tourism have put together a printable Eight-day RV Itinerary. Other valuable resources include: “East to West RV Camping in North Dakota” and “Create Your Legendary North Dakota RV Adventure.

Julianne G. Crane
To read other RV Short Stops, click here.
For more RV lifestyle articles by Julianne G. Crane, go to RVWheelLife.com.

##RVT1058

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

7 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marie Beschen
1 month ago

I had read about it and we made the effort to drive around and see his work. Such fun! People like him always amaze me. Thank goodness we have creative people who share their art with us!

Thomas D
1 month ago

We did the enchanted high way about 6 years back. Wonderful. BUT, leaving regent we got stopped for speeding. I never go fast and told the officer that i was only going 40/ 45. I had assumed because I was miles from town it was 55. NO he said. Its 30 or might have been 35? Thankfully only a written warning. But we turned around and on the way back to town looked for speed zone signs. NONE. The first or last was at the town line.

Dave
1 month ago

Several years ago, we parked the motorhome at a campground and spent a day touring this area. Thanks for bringing back the memories

Hubert Rosch
1 month ago

We did the Enchanted Highway 3 years ago after two months in Alaska. Well worth the drive through the beautiful farmland. I highly recommend it.

Ray
1 month ago

I did not know this when we traveled I-94, but I do recall seeing a giant cow off in the distance at one point along the way. This must have been the effort of Mr. Greff as well. Wow! Impressive. We will certainly take the detour next time. His efforts put iconic “art” such as Cadillac Ranch in the dirt (pun intended).

bill semion
1 month ago
Reply to  Ray
Bill Fisher
1 month ago

We detoured off I-94 and traveled the Enchanted Highway to Regent a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. We parked our Montana fiver at one of them for lunch. Nice drive. Hats off to the creator!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.