Road Rube Rides
Valley City to Fort Ransom
Distance: 41 miles
Time: 45 minutes
Valley City to Fort Ransom provides some eastern North Dakota change of pace
Riding across the U.S. is an interesting endeavor. There are mountains in the west. Mountains in the east. Great motorcycle roads on both ends of the country. That’s not to say that there aren’t good roads in between, but in order to the incredible rides you have to ride across large strips of land that aren’t ripe with motorcycle roads.
So a rider has to decide which path to travel across the country.
There’s Interstate 10 in the south. Interstate 40 through Oklahoma. Then there’s 70 through Kansas. There’s 80 through Nebraska. Don’t forget 90 through South Dakota. And then there’s 94 through North Dakota.
Interstate 10 is decent. But the next best option is 94 through North Dakota. North Dakota features some natural features that are somewhat interesting across the state, compared to the others (okay, Kansas has some natural features in the east that are decent to look at – stop being judgmental).
As you ride through North Dakota, there aren’t many roads to shoot off and lean your bike through great scenery. When looking for extra rides through these flyover Interstate roads, eastern North Dakota offers a pretty nice road out of Valley City to Fort Ransom. It just doesn’t really go anywhere that’s effective to get somewhere once you take the ride.
Take County Road 21 out of Valley City south. It’s also known as Kathryn Road. Follow 21 past the town of Kathryn to Highway 46. Take a left on 46 and take the first right. Follow the Fort Ransom State Park signs. Follow that until you can’t go on a paved road anymore and take a left (the paved way). That will take you into Fort Ransom.
You’ll ride through the hills of eastern North Dakota and the road winds past farmland and farms. There are plenty of curves that aren’t challenging. They are enjoyable, though. The ride goes into Fort Ransom. The town is pretty empty of any people or activity. There was one car parked (on a Wednesday mid-morning). It didn’t appear that anything was open. There was a gas pump being used on my way out of town.
I rode to Fort Ransom State Park. It’s a nice little park, but not ideal for motorcycles. It costs $7 to ride into the park. There is no exit from the park outside of the entrance. The roads are gravel and the road to the scenic overlook is fairly steep. I was behind two pickup trucks going slowly up the hill and I needed to speed up in order to keep my back tire from slipping in the gravel.
I wouldn’t recommend riding into the park. You can go into the main visitor center and read about the history and the park there for no fee.
At that point, it’s retracing your path. Highway 46 goes east and west and is a decent option to ride. However, the speed limit is 75 on I-94. Depends on your ride plans. It’s 52 miles to I-29 to the east and 65 miles to Highway 30 to the west. There are a few options to go north to I-94 off of 46 in between too.
The Bottom Line
Valley City to Fort Ransom is a worthwhile ride in eastern North Dakota if you’re looking for a change of scenery at a different pace. It’s really good scenery, but not a “must-ride” if you’re passing through. You will avoid traffic on this ride and that’s always a nice change of pace.