Menu Close

Getting from Bismarck North Dakota to Bozeman on I-94

North Dakota’s motto is “Be Legendary.” We woke up in Bismarck planning to get coffee, enjoy a little nature, and get to Bozeman before dark. We weren’t looking for legendary. We were on day two of what Chris has coined our West Quest.  According to Google, the drive takes 7 hours and 48 minutes. The time change from Central to Mountain and Montana’s generous speed limit would both be working in our favor.

Presumed Difficulty Rating:

10 a.m. caribou coffee. bismarck, north dakota.

Bismarck, North Dakota Melissa and Caribou Coffee

Bismarck has 9 Caribou Coffeehouses. Three with drive-thrus and an order-ahead option. All foreseeable destinations West beyond Bismarck have none. I’m going to miss you ‘Bou. 

We went to a Caribou Coffeehouse with a drive thru that allowed us to order ahead on the app. I’m happy to share that the employees wore masks and gloves; and, they  handed us our order social-distance style.*  My Gluten-Free Bacon and Gouda souffle and my large White Chocolate Mocha with coconut milk, two extra shots of espresso, half the chocolate, and no whipped cream was delicious — the best goodbye I could’ve hoped for. Chris enjoyed his large light roast, black.   

Rating: Double-Thumbs-Up Yum! 

gluten-free bacon and gouda souffle from bismarck north dakota caribou coffee

10:32 A.M. Near Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (we think)

North Dakota Before We Reached the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park Sign

Apple Maps brought us to a fence with a walking path beyond it. The fence wasn’t quite blocking off the path, so we walked it in hopes it’d connect us with Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. About fifteen minutes in, we saw a sign: North Entrance Fort Lincoln State Park. The walk itself was energizing. Finding ourselves in the right place, satisfying. 

Chris at Fort Lincoln State Park

While there, we enjoyed views of the Missouri River, explored the reconstructed earth lodges at On-A-Slant Village, and looked for the forts Chris saw online.

Outside of an Earth Lodge built by the Mandan people in the Slant Village

Rating: Double-Thumbs-Up Fun!

12:53 p.m. curbside lunch at qdoba

North Dakota Qdoba Fajita Vegan Bowl

I ordered the Fajita Vegan Bowl (grilled fajita veggies, hand-smashed guac, chile corn salsa, pico, salsa verde, black beans, lettuce, and brown rice) for the first time. It tasted so refreshing!

North Dakota Chris eating a Qdoba Burritio

Chris had a Create-Your-Own Burrito with grilled adobo chicken, cilantro lime rice, pinto beans, salsa roja, queso diablo, pickled jalapenos, and shredded lettuce, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. He loved his food too. There’s something about great fast-casual restaurants while on the road, behind schedule, wanting to get to the next destination. 

Rating: Double-Thumbs-Up Yum!

1:48 P.M. Salem Sue in WEst Salem, North Dakota

Salem Sue West Salem North Dakota

After seeing a large cow on a hill, we decided to have a closer look. We left the highway and turned onto a gravel road that wound uphill to see Salem Sue. According to the sign, she’s the world’s largest holstein cow. Sue stands 38 feet high, 50 feet long, and weighs 12,000 pounds.

Rating: Double-Thumbs-Up Fun! Worth the 15-minutes spent. The views of the land surrounding the hill Sue is on have such beauty (pictured below).

According to our map, we still had 7 hours and 31 minutes to go to make it to Bozeman, Montana.

1:48 p.m. (again) enchanted highway

Somewhere in the hour between meeting Salem Sue and finding the Enchanted Highway, we crossed into Mountain Time. 

Regent, North Dakota native Gary Greff created the sculptures along what is now known as the Enchanted Highway: a 32-mile stretch of two-lane highway between the freeway and Regent, North Dakota. 

“Geese in Flight,” the sculpture we could see from I-94 (pictured above), is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. We pulled off to check that one out first. Then, we drove down Enchanted Highway to see the next, “Deer Crossing.”

If we’d gone farther down the road, we’d have seen “Grasshoppers,” “Fisherman’s Dream,” “Pheasants on the Prairie,” “Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again,” and “Tin Family.” At the end of the road, in Regent, we could have gone to the Enchanted Castle for beer, a steak, or to stay overnight. We couldn’t go further down the road though. Bozeman was still 6 hours and 43 minutes away.

Rating: Double-Thumbs-Up Fun!

2:37 P.M. Painted Canyon Visitor Center.

Painted Canyon Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Painted Canyon Visitor Center is part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In addition to offering amazing views, there’s a rest area and a shop. The United States is a beautiful country and North Dakota is a far more impressive state than we’d thought before entering it. 

Rating: Double-Thumbs-Up Fun! 

We left at 3 p.m. with 6 hours of driving ahead of us. 

Between Medora and Bozeman, we only stopped in Billings for Arby’s. Neither of us were happy with the food. We eat fast casual, but traditional fast food? That’s a real rarity. Our taste buds don’t appreciate it as much as they used to. 

Around Reed Point, Montana; we noticed that the sun had set. It was 8:35 p.m. We had at least an hour ahead of us. Light hovered above the mountains for a while after. We arrived at our hotel after dark.

Sun Setting around Reed Point Montana

want more details? check out our video:

We were apprehensive about traveling through North Dakota, because the state lacks a mask mandate. Happily, at every place we purchased food from, employees were masked. At non-drive-thru spots, curbside was available. 

Follow us on YouTubeInstagramFacebook, and Pinterest for more travel and food inspiration.