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“Off the beaten path but worth the journey......”

Knife River Indian Villages Historic Site
Ranked #43 of 321 things to do in North Dakota
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 8, 2012

Best stop of all on our journey across North Dakota. My 8-yr-old grandson was asked by a kindly park ranger named Ella if he would like to become a Jr Park Ranger. He was hooked. The assignment was to identify and answer questions about exhibits inside and outside the visitor center. He learned. We learned. A ranger pin and badge were his reward. A short film introduces the history of the Hidatsa Indian villages that thrived here during the 16th and 17th centuries. The exhibits are outstanding and beautifully displayed with well written explanations. Did I mention the reconstucted earthlodge? It was a great experience.

3  Thank Carol J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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49 - 53 of 57 reviews

Reviewed August 5, 2012

Knife River Indian Villages Historic Site is out from Stanton, northwest of Bismarck. We saw a film in the Visitor Center snd then headed outside to see the earth lodge. You can go inside this large earth lodge. We had seen other earth lodges inside museums; this one was real and outside. Children would enjoy seeing this. We walked around the loop trail that took us down by the river. Various area were marked off for archaelogical digs. You could see the different layers of the soil in the side of the hill by the river. There is no fee, but they take donations.

2  Thank molly30087
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2012

Visited here last month while vacationing in North Dakota. We started out in the visitor center seeing the exhibits and watching the film about living in an indian village which is very good. We then went outside the center and saw the recreated earth lodge which was also furnished inside. I really was intrigued with the earth lodge which is roomier inside than it appears outside and also a few degrees cooler. We also took the path to the first Hidatsa village site where remains of the earth mounds can be viewed. The area is pretty and it was a nice walk. You are able to view a mowed field with mounds where the earth lodges once stood. It is rather amazing that these mounds have endured over all these years since I believe the last earthlodges were built in the late 1800's. An earthlodge typically only lasted five to ten years before having to be rebuilt. There are two other village sites we could have walked further to for a visit, but due to time constraints we only walked to the first village which was maybe 1/4 mile from the Visitor Center. You can walk 5+ miles on trails through this National Park site. I found the life of the Hidatsa/Mandan people quite interesting so I bought a book at the Visitor Center regarding Bird Woman's gardening/farming practices and life in the village. It was a fascinating read as Bird Woman was interviewed by an anthropologist in the late 1800's and was noted to be one of the last of native peoples in this area to live in one of these villages before the Indians in her village were placed on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Reading her story later made my visit to Knife River come alive again and enriched my visit. I would recommend Knife River as a very interesting and pretty historical site and a valuable reminder of Indian culture/life in this area of North Dakota. It is free to visit this site.

2  Thank MSWMom50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

The Knife River Indian Villages are primarily an archaeological site, and any excavations have been re-covered. Be prepared to look mostly at mounds; however, the walk among the sites is nice. Also, the NPS has recreated an earthen lodge that is well done and gives you an idea of what life was like. The film in the visitor's center is excellent-don't miss it!

Thank TravelsWithRuby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2011

This National Park Service site is somewhat under-utilized, but well worth the diversion off I-94. I have taken college student groups here maybe a dozen times, always with good orientation and hospitality offered by NPS staff, and enthusiastic reactions elicited from the students. Here's my main message: take the hike out onto the village sites, which you can roam at will, and take the riverside loop, too, where you can see whatever artifacts the current year's erosion has exposed. A fascinating hike and a great (low-impact) opportunity to stretch your legs.

1  Thank Isern1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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