Driving the Country's Most 'Enchanted' Highway

It has the makings of a riddle: Along a 32-mile stretch of two-lane highway in the southwestern part of one of the country's least populated states (hint: some 740,000 residents) you'll find something worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. But what, exactly?

Enter Regent, North Dakota, where it all started. Here in 1990, metal sculptor and retired school teacher Gary Greff began a project to build 11 mammoth metal sculptures every few miles on the route from Regent to Gladstone, which then connects with I-94. His aim? To help bring travelers to Regent in the hopes that it wouldn't meet the same fate as many small towns across the country-disappearance.

"It's hard to get people to steer up to North Dakota, but he's really made it into a destination," says Doug Kirby, publisher of Roadside America. "I haven't seen anyone else do anything on that kind of scale without a budget."

Today, Greff has completed seven sculptures, and Regent is far from vanishing. Some of the drive's most notable installations include a depiction of Teddy Roosevelt riding a bucking bronco (three miles north of Regent, the sculpture is made from well pipes and weighs approximately 9,000 pounds) and Pheasants on the Prarie (nine miles north of Regent), whose fowl family weighs some 30,000 pounds. In 2007, Greff took the project to new heights when he completed Fisherman's Dream, his seventh and perhaps most complicated sculpture, which comprises metal fish leaping up 70 feet through a metal pond surface.


Perhaps the most well known of all the Enchanted Highway's sculptures, however, is "Geese in Flight," which looms some 110 feet above an exit approximately 40 miles east of a section of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Completed in 2001, it has a weight of 78 tons and is the world's largest scrap-metal sculpture.

Katherine is a New York-based travel writer and photographer who is proud to have been born in North Dakota. Follow her on Twitter.