Old Red Old 10 Scenic Byway – From Trail to Interstate Highway

Western North Dakota.

Going west through North Dakota? It’s a five-hour drive on I-94 from Fargo to Beach, 352 miles (566 km) of easy travel on a modern Interstate highway. My wife, Lynn, and I were invited to accompany my niece and her husband on a westward journey to visit national parks and other points of interest in the upper northwest. We were quick to accept and immediately put together a list of suggestions of places to visit for Pat and Gary to consider on our journey. The group’s itinerary planned, we loaded a month’s worth of luggage and associated travel gear, and off we went.

Mandan Train Depot

This journey would avoid the Interstate highway system as much as possible, instead, we found scenic highways and byways that moved us in the general direction of each destination along the way. Our first such byway is the Old Red Old 10 Scenic Byway that parallels I-94 between Mandan and Dickinson, North Dakota. We joined the byway at its eastbound beginning located at the Mandan train depot. Along the way, we detoured to visit nearby attractions, making our 5-hour trip from Fargo to Dickinson a full day’s journey.

Salem Sue

Visitors traveling I-10 near the town of New Salem can see Salem Sue, a 38-foot (12 m) tall sculpture of a Holstein cow that honors the prominent dairy industry in the New Salem area.

The opening photo features a view of what the Old Red Trail might have looked like in its early days. This view is of an abandoned house in the ghost town of Sims, one of our detours along the way. All that remains active here is a Scandanavian Lutheran Church. The Old Red Trail became U.S. Highway 10 which was eventually replaced by I-94. Much of what remains of the original U.S. Highway 10 in Minnesota and North Dakota is generally referred to as Old 10. Almost all of the scenic byway along Old 10 is blacktop, but there are about 10 miles (16 km) of well-maintained gravel road between New Salem and Glen Ullin.

Sunflower Inn

Further south on our detour, the small town of Almont is a historic community incorporated in 1906. Since the railroad rerouted, this charming small town is about 100 residents, down from its peak population of 232 in 1940.

Glen Ullin Museum

Our next stop was at the small town of Glen Ullin. Due to the pandemic, the museum and the small collection of historic buildings are closed, but we did stop and examine a few pieces of old farm equipment that was outside in front of the building.

Fort Sauerkraut

Crossing over the Interstate west of Glen Ullin, we visited Fort Sauerkraut just outside of Hebron. Since 2004, on top of a hill, sits the reconstruction is a sod shelter that was part of the fort built by settlers to protect themselves from Native Americans. The settlers grew tired of waiting for attacks that never happened and the original fort was abandoned as settlers returned to their homes and farms.

Richardton Abbey

At Richardton, the historic Assumption Abbey was founded in 1893 by a swiss monk. The beautiful church and its grounds are a worthy place to visit for a few moments of quiet contemplation.

Enchanted Highway sculpture

Our last side trip on our Old Red Old 10 journey is a 32-mile detour off the old 10 where it crosses I-94 at exit 72 just north of Gladstone, North Dakota. The 32 miles of highway between Gladstone and Regent contains a collection of large metal sculptures depicting life in North Dakota.

In the coming months, I will feature more details and images from all of these side trips on our way to Dickinson. At Regent, we left the Old Red Old 10 Byway and headed to Dickinson and the first night of our journey. I submit for your review a collection of images gathered along the way. Click on any of the images in the gallery. If your browser supports it, you’ll be given an enlarged view and navigation arrows that allow you to scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner



    • Thanks! In a couple of months, I’ll have a post published that shows off a few more of those larger than life sculptures that are on the 32-mile stretch of North Dakota roadway known as the Enchanted Highway.

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