Highlights of the Northern Plains
$1,695 per person ($295 single supplement)
Beginning and ending in Bismarck, North Dakota, this tour will explore some of the unique and fascinating historic places of the Northern Plains. We’ll visit Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, which preserves the remains of five historic period Mandan/Hidatsa villages, including the “hometown” of Sacagawea, the guide for Lewis and Clark. We’ll also visit a number of prehistoric Native American sites including Double Ditch and Huff Indian Village State Historic Site, well preserved Plains Village Tradition communities, and the Knife River Quarries, one of the largest prehistoric quarry sites in North America.
View the schedule below.
Saturday, September 3
Join us in Bismarck for an opening reception and a talk by a leading North Dakota archaeologist at the Bismarck Radisson. We’ll spend our first of three nights here.
Sunday, September 4
We’ll begin exploring the historical highlights of the Bismarck area with a trip to the North Dakota Heritage Center noted for its archaeological, paleontological and historical exhibits. We’ll then take a short drive to Huff Indian Village State Historic Site, a prehistoric Mandan village dating to about A.D. 1450. We’ll then visit Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and On-a-Slant Village. The village, which shares the grounds with the fort, is a partially reconstructed Mandan village dating to about A.D. 1500 and later. Fort Abraham Lincoln is the partially reconstructed home of George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry. We’ll have a picnic lunch on the grounds before driving north of Bismarck to visit Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site. Double Ditch is perhaps the most visually impressive archaeological site on the Northern Plains. The 15-acre site, encircled by a series of walls and ditches, has a commanding view of the Missouri River, scores of house basins, and trash mounds rising to 15 feet. We’ll return to Bismarck for the night.
Monday, September 5
We’ll drive about an hour north to Washburn, home of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan. The interpretive center tells the story of the Corps of Discovery’s 1804-1806 journey to the Pacific and back. Fort Mandan is a reconstruction of the fort where the Corps spent the winter of 1804. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site which preserves the remains of the village where Sakagawea met Lewis and Clark. The exhibits tell the story of the three principal Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara villages that occupied the property. We’ll return to Bismarck for the night.
Tuesday, September 6
We’ll check out of the Bismarck Radisson and head further west onto the plains. Our first stop will be the Lynch Knife River Chert Quarries, a National Historic Landmark. Hundreds of pits mark where American Indians mined Knife River chert, a stone valued for toolmaking, for over 11,000 years. We’ll travel further west into the North Dakota Badlands, described as “hell with the fires put out.” We’ll visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we’ll see Roosevelt’s ranch cabin dating to the 1880s and take a drive through the park to view scenery and wildlife. We’ll spend the night in Medora.
Wednesday, September 7
We will head north to the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum located in New Town. The museum honors the heritage of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes. The information provided by the three tribes was critical to the success and survival of the Corps of Discovery. We’ll then return to the Bismarck Radisson for a farewell get-together.
Thursday, September 8
Participants depart for home.
Cost includes first-class hotel accommodations based on double occupancy (single supplement is $295), lunches, happy hours, admittance fees, tips, tours, orientations, background reading, and surface travel. Not Included are meals other than lunches and travel to and from Bismarck. The tour involves moderate walking.