Missouri River Montana and Dakotas...

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by Madmardigan, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Madmardigan

    Madmardigan Generally confused...

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    Greetings all,

    I am in the process of planning a trip for this spring. Mostly looking for advice from my Montana and Dakota brethren (or those very familiar with the areas)

    Planning a trip to see family in Alaska early next summer. As a warm up, I thought I'd try to ride the river. I'm thinking of starting at Three Forks and taking as many dirt/back/county roads as possible following the river through Montana and parts of the Dakotas might be fun. The sort of roads I'm considering would certainly include the scenic byway from Winifred to the CMR wildlife refuge. Wouldn't mind criss-crossing the river via ferries either. So, if you have some sections of road that shouldn't be missed, I'd be much obliged if you'd share your secrets. Include whatever you think appropriate (watering holes, sink holes, excellent vistas, etc.)

    I'm playing around with a bit of software and some of the Delorme street atlas looks pretty good for picking a route through the hinterlands, but expert advice is always preferred. In fact, if folks were interested, I'd collate all the advice and make some GPS routes available.

    I grew up on the east side of the divide and I think it's time I got back there and re-experienced some of the wide open country. And the mighty Missouri (which by rights should be the longest river in the world) seems like the appropriate icon to pay homage to.

    Thanks to all in advance.
    #1
  2. DakotaDon

    DakotaDon Vagabond Mechanic

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    On the Montana/North Dakota border, just east of Fairview, is the old lift deck bridge on the Yellowstone, and just on the east end of the bridge is the only transportation tunnel in the state of North Dakota. No trains running through there anymore, its now a park and you are free to walk the whole thing.

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    A couple of miles north of that bridge is the sister bridge, an almost exact duplicate, on the Missouri. That one still has BNSF trains running across it though. Worth the stop if you are following the river, and they are pretty close to the confluence.

    From there I would suggest heading south before you get to New Town and follow the southern edge of the lake. Hwy 22 will take you down through some somewhat twisty fun stuff, across the little Misouri river and past the Killdeer Mountains. Side trip there would be out to the Killdeer battle field site, which is somewhat interesting, and also up to the Medicine Hole, on top of the Mountain. Its a pretty good hike up there, but I think its worth it. Visiting the battlefield site first and getting the Medicine Hole story is the way to realy go about that. Watch for signs for both, they are both kind of hard to find.

    Head east from there, and either take the gravel south on the west side of the river, into Mandan, or get off of 83 just south of Washburn and follow the river road into Bismarck. Good trip with either.

    South from Bismarck/Mandan I would probably suggest staying on the Bismarck side and taking 1804 south to Mobridge. Dont miss the turns to stay along the river once you get south of Pollock, SD.

    Do give a shout if I can help out or give some better directions...
    #2
  3. Madmardigan

    Madmardigan Generally confused...

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    Hey, thanks a ton for the info. Adding it to my plan. Nice photos btw.

    Anybody else have some killer stretches of road (paved or otherwise) along the Missouri?
    #3
  4. dirtrider

    dirtrider Dusty Adventurer

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    Where did you grow up? I'm originally from Plentywood.

    By the way, fill in the rest of your profile No0b. :deal
    #4
  5. Madmardigan

    Madmardigan Generally confused...

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    I grew up on the front... Near Choteau. Plentywood? Never actually been there, but I did know a bunch of guys from the area in College. Lost track of 'em...

    Profile kinda, sorta filled in....
    #5
  6. AdvAndy

    AdvAndy Been here awhile

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    I have ridden the L & C trail from St. Louis to Seaside. I live in the heart of L & C country. There is a decent ashalt road that goes East from Williston towords New Town on over to Garrison. Stop at Washburn, ND to see the L & C Intrepretive Center and also replica of Ft. Mandan. Take 1804 (river road) to Bismarck. Jump on I-90 to Mandan. Take the oil road South of Mandan to Ft. Rice. I forget the ND road number, but it is Hwy 1806 in SD. If you are hungry, about 20 miles south of Mandan is a big Indian casino with one of the best buffets you'll find around. Gas up there and head south to Ft. Yates, Kenel, Mobridge, SD. Cross the river at Mobridge. Go east of Mobridge a few miles and hwy 1804 heads south. It quits near Akaska, SD. Take the gravel road south of Akaska and you'll come out on highway 212 a mile or so from the river. Gas up at Bob's if you need to. Head south on hwy 1804, asphalt again, to Pierre, SD. From Pierre you can take hwy 1806 on the west side of the river or hwy 34 on the east side of the river to Chamberlain, SD. Jump on I-94 a few miles east of Chamberlain to Hwy. 50. Take 50 south to 44. Go east on 44 to Platte, SD. Go south of Platte and you follow the river almost all the way to Sioux City. How much further do you want to go?

    Look me up when you're in Pierre, SD. PM me when you know you'll be here. :D
    #6
  7. FN in MT

    FN in MT Been here awhile

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    Can see the Mighty MO out my windoow as I type this. I live along the River north of Wolf Creek and Craig just south of Great Falls. If I can be of help feel free to contact me.

    If Your interested in Lewis & Clark a must see is the L&C Interpretive Center in Gt Falls at Giant Springs. VERY interesting.

    FN in MT
    #7
  8. Madmardigan

    Madmardigan Generally confused...

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    AdvAndy: Thanks for the great info. I'll be adding it to the route. I'm thinking about this trip in the spring, as soon as I can get on the road. I'd really like to go all the way to St. Louis, but probably won't. Sort of hard to tell as this will be a warm up trip for the longer one in early summer (AK). I'll certainly keep you in mind as I roll through Pierre... Thanks again.

    FN in MT: That's a great area to live. Like I wrote earlier, I grew up around the Augusta area. Know that Dearborn country, holter, etc., fairly well.

    I just downloaded the L&C GPS route from the adventure cycling website. Thinking about incorporating some of that in the plan, but doesn't seem to hug the river as much as I'd like. I have a map built for Montana section (3 Forks to Culbertson) already and am thinking about posting a graphic if folks are interested. From there I'll incorporate the advice from Dakota Don and AdvAndy.

    Thanks again to everyone. The ADVrider site is a great resource. Spent weeks here lurking before I bought the new (to me) GS. The old K75 is feeling ignored now...
    #8
  9. bosco

    bosco Raybanned

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    My pat advice is to stay as far away from highway 2 and the interstate as possible. Think MT 200 instead. All the above mentioned side routes are easily accessible from 200, in addition to the new Native interpretive center at Fort Peck. If you're starting in Three Forks it's just a short hop north.


    Rob
    #9
  10. badroute

    badroute Adventurer

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    Criss-crossing the Missouri through Montana has been on my list of things to do for some time. I have been on alot of those roads at differant times but it has been awhile ago (I hear theres a bridge now at old PN ferry). I think it would be a great trip.
    #10
  11. Madmardigan

    Madmardigan Generally confused...

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    Here's the route I'm thinking of so far. The red is my route and the yellow dots are waypoints from the Adventure Cycling website....





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    And a zoomed section from Great Falls to Fort Peck Reservoir... The roads are a digital file from the Census bureau and aren't exactly complete so I think you'd be able to criss-cross even more. Lots of ferries.

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    Need to finish the route incorporating the info from DDon and AdvAndy. If anyone wants some GPS from these, let me know....
    #11
  12. badroute

    badroute Adventurer

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    Looks like your ready to go. No gas from Winifred to Fort Peck. Probally not an issue with a GS. The old Bar/Station at Mobridge (near Robinson Bridge on 191) is closed. Could include Zortman unless they sell gas at Fourchette Bay. Dry weather would be a must from PN to Fort Peck. Hey Im charged up-- I am going to do this. Might have to do it twice with all the road options.
    #12