There are few stretches more magical than the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota. But despite its magic, the attraction only sees about 6,000 visitors in a normal year.
This collection of artistic exhibits is a unique experience, but is it worth it? Should you take a detour to ride the Enchanted Highway? Let’s find out!
About the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota
The Enchanted Highway is a stretch of highway in western North Dakota. It consists of a collection of large metal sculptures that span 32 miles.
The creator, Gary Greff, noticed the decline of small towns and businesses in the region and wanted to do something about it. The idea was to create something that would bring tourists to the area.
Greff began the project in 1989 when he created the first sculpture, “Geese in Flight.” After the success of his first creation, Gary set out to create other structures along the route that would reflect the landscape, history and culture of the area.
Today, visitors can view seven large metal sculptures made from scrap metal and various recycled materials. If you’ve ever wanted to see a six-foot fish, a six-foot pheasant or Teddy Roosevelt on a horse, now’s your chance.
Why is it called the Enchanted Highway?
There is little information about why the road got its name. However, the definition of “enchanted” is “filled with joy.” In view of this, it is easy to understand why it probably received this name.
Each sculpture has rest areas and picnic areas that allow visitors to make memories and spend time together along the highway, filling everyone with joy.
The name fits the route, as visitors feel like they are in a fairy tale. Walking among giant fish, grasshoppers and a huge tin family is an experience that will never be forgotten.
Where does the Enchanted Highway begin and end?
Beginning in the town of Gladstone in western North Dakota at Exit 72 off Interstate 94, the Enchanted Highway runs for 32 miles directly into the city of Regent. The goal of the highway was to attract travelers and their purses to the city of Regent.
The city was founded in 1910 and has earned a reputation for hospitality. At last count, Regent’s population was about 150. Many people in the area work in agriculture and ranching.
While the Enchanted Highway does not attract hundreds of thousands of people to the region, it is becoming increasingly popular. More and more travelers have learned about this highway through social media, and many hope to experience it for themselves.
How many statues are there on the Enchanted Highway?
There are seven completed statues along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota. However, Gary Greff’s ultimate plan was to put up 10 statues. He mentioned that he has two finished statues but has nowhere to put them.
Greff told HPR1 newspaper, “I’d like to put three more sculptures on the Enchanted Highway; there’s a 12-mile stretch where there should be three more sculptures. And right now the landowners aren’t really cooperative in leasing me a piece of land.”
Unfortunately, the Enchanted Highway is a one-person show. Greff, 70, maintains the statues and parking lots and mows the lawn. It’s a big job that he hopes “won’t die when I die.”
Greff also owns the Enchanted Castle Hotel in Regent, N.D., which features a work-in-progress statue of a knight fighting a dragon.
Can you drive your RV on the Enchanted Highway?
Driving on the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota is easy with an RV. However, it is important to note that some RVs may find it challenging to stop to admire each piece of art.
Parking lots can have large potholes, and some parking lots require driving up and down short, steep driveways. This can cause ground clearance problems, especially with longer trailers.
Unfortunately, there is not much room to safely pull over to the side of the road. Driving the Enchanted Highway by motorhome is possible, but not a good idea if you want to take your time.
If possible, we recommend parking your RV and returning in a more suitable vehicle where you can enjoy each stop without worrying about you and your RV getting into a sticky situation.
Please note: When in North Dakota, don’t waste your time visiting the national parks!