- 63 miles (101 km)
- 9 hours to experience and enjoy the entire Byway
The Sheyenne River is North Dakota's only homegrown river, the only one that begins and ends within its borders. Accordingly, the banks of the Sheyenne are steeped in heritage, where industrious Norwegian immigrant farmers and adventurous frontiersmen worked together to settle the fertile valley. With its small town hospitality and pioneer historic sites, the Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway offers you a little of the old frontier and more.
Historic buildings along the Sheyenne River Scenic Byway demonstrate life on the open, uncrowded frontier. Old brick banks share the street with tiny jails for those who tried to rob them. The Kings Schoolhouse preserves the last one-room schoolhouse in the valley, complete with blackboard and desks, alongside a shop that sells homemade country crafts. Visit Fort Ransom State Park for living history exhibits of life on an old Scandinavian immigrant farm, including horse-drawn machinery and other antique equipment. All along the Byway, excellent interpretive signs reveal the history of this valley.
Fort Ransom State Park also features excellent seasonal outdoor activities, including horseback riding, canoeing, and cross-country skiing. Lake Ashtabula and Baldhill Dam fill the northern end of the Byway with miles of water recreation. The open prairies leave you to adventure unrestrained, and when you return to town, chow down on the good home cooking that the valley residents have been perfecting for generations.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Baldhill Dam (ND)
The dam, named for the hills which surround it, was completed in1951. Lake Ashtabula, which is a Native American word forfish river, is indeed an excellent place to fish andenjoy any watersports.
Barnes County Historical Museum (ND)
Browse through over 20,000 square feet of changing historical exhibits at the Barnes County Historical Museum. Displays include a twenty-eight foot scale model of the High Line Bridge, a miniature railroad, railroad memorabilia, a military exhibit, pioneer displays, a genealogy library, a visitor information center, and much more. The museum is completely accessible and hosts groups for meetings and tours.
Bridges History Tour (ND)
The Valley City Historic Bridges Tour also highlights somemanmade developments that contribute to the quality of thecorridor’s visual environment. The most spectacular of theseis the Highline Bridge. The Highline is 3,860 feet long and 162feet above the riverbed. It is one of the highest and longestsingle-track railroad bridges in the nation—not something youwould expect to see on the plains of North Dakota. Valley City haslocated interpretive panels at eight scenic and historic bridgesites in the Scenic Byway Corridor.
Valley City Streets
Clausen Springs Recreational Area (ND)
Originally named Birch Creek, this was well known among Indians, fur trappers, and hunters from Pembina as a prime camping spot. Fremont and Nicollet camped here in 1839, five thousand Sioux gathered here in 1853, and five companies of the Minnesota Mounted Rangers of Sibley's Expedition stopped here in 1863.
Birch Creek was a regular camping place for supply trains, dispatch riders and cattle drivers who supplied the whole fort system of Forts Ransom, Totten, Stevenson and Buford. Today the area bears the name of three brothers who settled here in 1879, and it still remains a popular camping spot for hundreds of people each year.
Clausen Springs Spur
Country Junction at King School (ND)
The earliest days of school in North Dakota were markedly different from today's standardized system. One-room schoolhouses from the 1870s often met in farmhouses or attics, but as the population grew, Barnes County townships began to build their own schoolhouses. Most of these buildings were frame buildings similar to King School.
Law required that all 8-14 year old children attend at least 12 weeks of school per year. However, these weeks were arranged around the crucial work of planting and harvesting, when all family members, including young children, were needed to help on the farm.
Today, the last one-room schoolhouse in Barnes County to close its doors now has a new life as a craft shop. School has been out in the King School since 1967, but the feeling of the little local schoolhouse is still there even though it now has air conditioning and indoor running water. Coffee is always on as you browse through the wide variety of crafts available for sale.
County Highway No. 21 South
Daily Historic Site (ND)
The town of Daily, named for early settler and bridge builderJames Daily, was the site of the first official school in BarnesCounty. Organized in 1878 in the home of Ole P. Hjelde who ownedthe general store and post office, the school and store were thesocial and economic center of the area until the railroad came andKathryn was founded just a few miles south in 1900.
The post office was discontinued in 1908, the mill burned in1910, the school closed in 1923, Ole Hjelde closed his store around1925 and the town of Daily ceased to exist.
County Highway No. 21 South
Faust Park Recreation Area (ND)
Once the home of a Soo Line railroad station named Faust, thesite boasted grain elevator, cattle corral with loading chute and adam on the river. This now quiet spot is a wonderful fishing hole,picnic area and canoe landing.
County Road No. 19
Fort Ransom (ND)
This is a tiny but beautifully scenic little village with a lotto offer in the way of history and heritage. Established in 1878,the town took the name of the Army fort which was located on thehill overlooking the valley.
County Road No. 13
Fort Ransom Historic Site (ND)
Established on June 18, 1867, this was one of a chain of fortsin Dakota Territory built to protect wagon trains on their way tothe gold fields of Montana, pioneer settlers, and railroad workers.Its buildings were of log construction and provided quarters for200 enlisted men and seven officers.
The post was protected by two blockhouses, a breastwork of logand sod construction, and a dry moat eight feet deep. When therailroad was constructed farther to the north, Fort Seward wasbuilt at Jamestown and Fort Ransom was no longer needed. The fortwas abandoned on May 27, 1872.
Fort Ransom Historic Sites Spur
Fort Ransom State Park (ND)
Named after a historic frontier fort, the Fort Ransom State Park gives visitors a glimpse into life in historic North Dakota. While the historic fort was dismantled, Fort Ransom State Park features two historic homesteads, the Bjone House and the Sunne Farm. The Bjone House serves as the visitor center for the park, and Sunne Farm featuresd living history demonstrations.
The most famous of these demonstrations is the annual Sodbuster Days, featuring horse-drawn fieldwork, antique machinery, blacksmithing, and home cooking.
The Fort Ransom State Park features 887 acres of natural beauty. Experience a wealth of outdoor activites during your visit. The park features 5 campsites, two of which includ facilities for horses. Canoe across the Sheyenne, take a hike, take a picture. And because Fort Ransom remains open in the winter, you can also try cross country skiing.
Fort Ransom State Park Spur