Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 11; Lonely US Route 85 in the Dakotas

Following spending the night in Belle Fourche my destination was in North Dakota in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  From US Route 212 in Belle Fourche it was a solid 174 miles north to Interstate I-95 on a desolate stretch of US Route 85.






This blog entry serves as Part 11 of the 2016 Mountain Trip series, Part 10 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 10; Devil's Tower National Monument

US Route 85 north of Belle Fourche in South Dakota traverses through rural Butte County and Harding County.  Between Belle Fourche and the North Dakota State Line there isn't much to capture the interest.  The site of interest I did find was the ghost town of Redig in southern Harding County.  Oddly Redig is something I've never been able to find much information on as it rarely ever appears on historical maps.  The community has an abandoned service station that appears to have been last in use in the mid-20th century.  There was no apparent signs of life amid the abandoned buildings and derelict cars.




US 85 enters North Dakota in Bowman County.  The first real town north from Belle Fourche is the County Seat in Bowman at the junction of US 12.  I stopped in Bowman for a refill of gas and a bag of M&Ms before continuing northward on US 85.

US 85 enters Slope County north of Bowman County.  I stopped in Amidon which is the second least populated incorporated County Seat in the United States with a population of 20.  Amidon was founded in 1910 and was anticipated to be a rail siding of a Milwaukee Road Railroad branch line that ultimately never made it to the community.  When Slope County was split from Billings County in 1914 Amidon became the county seat.  Amidon was the last North Dakota County seat to receive electricity by 1950.  Apparently Amidon once had a population of about 150 in the 1920s but along with Slope County has declined.  Reportedly the Amidon County Post Office closed in 2018.





North of Amidon US 85 enters Stark County where it meets I-94 in Belfield.  From Belfield I entered I-94 west towards Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Part 12 of the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 12; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I-94, and Old US 10

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hetch Hetchy Valley; Hetch Hetchy Railroad, abandoned Lake Eleanor Road, and the Wapama Fall Bridge

This June I took a trip out to Yosemite National Park upon receiving my COVID-19 Day Use Reservation.  My destination in Yosemite National Park was out in Hetch Hetchy Valley.  I sought to hike to the Wapama Fall Bridge which took me through some of the path of the former Hetch Hetchy Valley Railroad and abandoned Lake Eleanor Road.



Part 1; Hetch Hetchy Valley, the Hetch Hetchy Railroad, and reservoir roads

Hetch Hetchy is glacially carved valley similar to Yosemite Valley which is located on the Tuolumne River of Tuolumne County.  Hetch Hetchy Valley presently is impounded by the O'Shaughnessy Dam which was completed during 1923 as part of a project to deliver water and hydroelectric power to the City of San Francisco.  Before being impounded Hetch Hetchy Valley had an average depth of approximately 1,800 feet with a maximum depth of approximately 3,000 feet.  Hetch Hetchy Valley is approximately three miles long and as much as a half mile wide.  Hetch Hetchy Valley is located dow…

Mineral King Road, the White Chief Mine, and the unbuilt California State Route 276

Back in July of 2016 I took Mineral King Road east from California State Route 198 to Mineral King Valley within the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Sequoia National Park.  This June I revisited Mineral King Valley and made my way up to the White Chief Mine.


Mineral King Road is a 24.8 mile rural highway maintained by the National Park Service and as Tulare County Mountain Road 375.  Mineral King Road originates at California State Route 198 in Three Rivers near the confluence of the Middle Fork Kaweah River and the East Fork Kaweah River.  Mineral King Road climbs from a starting elevation of 1,400 feet above sea level to 7,830 feet above sea level at the White Chief Mine Trailhead in Mineral King Valley.  Notably Mineral King Road is stated to have 697 curves.


Mineral King Road has an average grade of 5.1% but has several stretches between 15-20% in places.  Pjammycycling has a detailed breakdown on the grade levels over the entirety of Mineral King Road.

Pjammycycling on Mineral King R…

California's Rogue Sign State Route Shields

While recently revisiting Yosemite National Park I took a couple minutes to capture some of the California Sign State Route shields posted by the National Park Service ("NPS").  None of the NPS shields were actually posted on roadways maintained by Caltrans but were clearly intended to create route continuity with the Sign State Highways.  This phenomenon is not exclusive to Yosemite National Park and can be found on numerous roads not maintained by Caltrans throughout California.



Part 1; Route continuity over who maintains the route

In the very early era of State Highways in California the Division of Highways didn't actually field sign the Auto Trails or even US Routes.  The responsibility of Highway signage fell to the California State Automobile Association ("CSAA") and Automobile Club of Southern California ("ACSC").  The Auto Clubs simply signed Highways on roadways that best served navigational purposes.  These navigational purposes often didn&#…