There’s the perfect scenic byway mapped out in central North Dakota that goes right through some of the most picturesque and charming small towns in the state. Among those towns there is also other stops along the way that create the perfect road trip. If you’re up for a beautiful ride through rural North Dakota, this ride is one you have to take, and it’s known as the Old Red Old Ten.
The trip can be started in either Mandan or Dickinson and end at the other by following the old Highway 10. Assuming you start in Mandan, your first stop is through the towns of New Salem and Sims, North Dakota. New Salem is home to the world's largest holstein cow, Salem Sue, perched atop her hill. Sims, shown above, is mostly a ghost town hidden among the rolling prairie hills, but some signs of life still remain, including the Sims Church.
Your next stop is the delightful town of Almont. Only 122 people call this place home, but the town still holds its charm. After Almont, you'll be leaving the paved roads and hitting the gravel for a really rural experience.
The back country roads will take you through beautiful, gentle hills of farmlands and wild meadows, hidden creeks and tree groves - a great taste of North Dakota nature. There are a lot of chances to stop along the road to see wildlife or just take in your surroundings.
The next two towns you will go through are Glen Ullin and Hebron, the latter's main street shown above. Both have populations hovering around 800. Stop at the local coffee shop in Hebron, Dark Side of the Brew located on the main avenue, when you pass through. They have pastries to die for and make a perfect resting stop to fuel yourself up. Keep in consideration that they are only open until 4:30 PM. After that, it's back on the road!
You'll pass through the Schnell Recreation Area next, great to stop for a picnic or some outdoor fun, and then the town of Richardton. This town is well known for the huge and beautiful Assumption Abbey, which is open as a retreat for anyone. It's stunning and one of a kind. The monks of the abbey sell great handmade soaps, wine, and even fruit cake year round that you can pick up as a souvenir on the way.
Another few miles down the road is the town of Taylor. Each year at the end of July, they hold a Horsefest down the main street to showcase all kinds of horse power. All year round, they are a pleasant town just shy of 150 residents, and a great addition to the trip.
Moving along and getting very close to the end now, Gladstone, North Dakota is the second to last stop if you want it to be, but it also serves as the gateway to the Enchanted Highway. That route will take you far off course to the south, but is a fascinating drive through massive and magnificent metal sculptures along the road.
If you choose to skip the Enchanted Highway or take it and drive back, the final stop is in Dickinson. It is not a round trip, so you'll have to head back either the same route or by taking I-94 - or head on to new adventures.