Video: Driving the Badlands of Old Marmarth Road

Video: Driving the Badlands of Old Marmarth Road

We’ve visited Marmarth, North Dakota on several occasions, but it wasn’t until this past summer that we had the opportunity to drive the badlands of Old Marmarth Road, also known as Old Highway 16. We took quite a few photos while we were there, and shot some GoPro video too. This is our look at a scenic drive you just won’t experience by sticking to the interstate and the standard scenic overlooks. We found the change in landscape between the beginning of the video (on the rolling prairie) and the end (in the badlands), particularly interesting.

We uploaded this in HD, so if you have a Chromecast or Roku, or some other streaming TV capability, try watching this on a bigger screen. It looks really nice. Enjoy.

Photos and Video by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp copyright © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

38 thoughts on “Video: Driving the Badlands of Old Marmarth Road

  1. Nice video. But looks like you only drove the prairie parts of the road. You need to start filming as soon as you leave Marmarth and be sure to go all the way to Pretty Butte. You missed all the buttes and water crossings. Do you know you can drive all the way to Golva and get back on pavement. Earlier you can turn west to go into Montana. Go through it again and take some more video’s of the buttes and gullies. It is a great drive and I think the best place in ND.

      1. But you didn’t show the best part. Pretty Butte, the other buttes and the river crossings. Still a good video but you need to go over it again, Start at the turnoff in Minot go north and start filming right away and stop when you get to the prairie>basically where you stopped filming. You should also think about taking a drive on the Camp Crook Road which goes south from Marmarth and comes out by Capitol, Montana.

    1. Tom, you might get better reaction from your comments if you just said “I’d really like to see Pretty Butte,” or something like that. Instead, you’ve framed your comments as criticisms. Number one, you said “you only drove the prairie parts of the road,” which, if you watched the whole video, you would know, is incorrect. The badlands are in the video, not just the prairies. Then when Troy responded, you moved the goalpost. Suddenly it wasn’t that they “only drove the prairie parts of the road,” it was that they “didn’t show the best part.” And then you start telling a couple of guys who live clear on the other side of the state to do it again. I would have been peeved too. Next time, just say what you want instead of criticizing two guys who do this out of their love of the state like they did something wrong.

  2. I just think if you are going to do a video you should put the best parts in. They are still good. And I enjoy your website.

  3. Great! Loved it. Do it again. There are some pretty interesting old structures of the beaten path..another point of interest would be the red hills, known as the limbering pines..have fun and keep doing..

  4. I enjoyed your video, We own land along old highway 16, Just out of Marmarth for a few miles, It was nice to see some of our land in your videos

  5. C’mon Troy… don’t get pissy about Tom’s comments. He’s just excited about certain sections of the drive, and is inviting you to (and hoping you will) focus more on those items. You could just say “Hey, thanks, maybe we’ll revisit the area sometime” and let it be. Instead, you’re coming across as a little peeved. Maybe you’re having a bad day, dunno, but think about it.

    I do tons of roadside photography, all US-whatever routes, turn offs, old buildings and signs, and I’m always hearing “you should have seen” or “why didn’t you photograph…” type comments. I just do the electronic equiv of nodding, smiling and saying “Hey, thanks for your ideas”. Think about it, my friend.

    From one photographer to another. Peace. (and you don’t have to post this comment.)

    1. Personally I think both of you owe Troy an apology. Some of us love this website the way it is, and wish you persistently critical-types would go away. I see a guy who twice said “Thank you for the feedback,” and “Thank you for the critique,” which is a humbling attitude to have, and all he got from you two is critical comments.

      1. Janna
        I wasn’t being nasty. I told Troy a couple of times in this situation that I liked his site. And I have told him that times before on other pictures. I just suggested that he should show Pretty Butte and gullies and the river crossing on the video and he got snarky. I think this is a great site and have visited it a 100 times. I have gone to several of the towns they have pictured. In fact I lived in Marmarth when I was a child and have several relatives there. I love the area.

        1. I disagree. I don’t see anything snarky about what Troy said, and I think you WERE being nasty. If I’m not mistaken, Troy moderates this website, and he didn’t even have to allow your comments here but he did, which shows he’s humble and willing to take your critical comments, even though they’re undeserved. And the fact that you won’t let it rest shows what kind of person you are. Perhaps you should take your suggestions and start your own website.

  6. Thank you! Really nice video!
    Born and raised in western ND, but have not lived there for 40 years. Always love seeing your photos and hearing about the places. I have never been in this part of the badlands, and it is beautiful. Still miss it after all these years!

  7. Great video. I have been through Marmarth several times, but have not had the opportunity to hit the back roads.

    Next time….

  8. I think you did a fine job. You captured the beauty of North Dakotas “Out Back”. Hope to see you guys visit this area again next Summer with more footage.

  9. Hi Troy!
    That part where you’re driving on grass, is that part of Old Highway 16 or just a side path to the river? I love the badlands green!
    -Jack

  10. Being from the Great Lakes neck of the woods, it’s always amazing to me to see places with NO TREES!!!! The sky is everywhere! Just beautiful. This place lets you breathe, even in a video. Thanks to both of you for allowing me the pleasure of being an arm chair tourist. Keep it coming! (As I was watching though, I was hoping that that little bush type plant that was showing up in the prairie part of the video wasn’t Autumn Olive (please, no). And what is the name of the river/creek you guys ran into?) Good holidays to everyone, from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains and beyond, this is a beautiful planet.

  11. Many years ago, my husband and I pulled our first camper out to the Marmarth area with our ’72 Chevelle. We even pulled the camper thru a water crossing like one in your video! We were new to camping trailers, and my husband isn’t a truck driver, so when we followed a scoria road, we discovered at its end a well pad and no way to turn around. Language was purple as he backed us for probably a quarter mile, till we discovered some road-level land we could turn around on. When we finally decided to pull up, out in the middle of nowhere, we really enjoyed the black sky sprinkled with stars, and the many eyes reflected in our campfire light. Back then there were no flaring wells in the area (early eighties). I wonder if the night would be as dark nowadays?

  12. I loved this for many reasons. My father was born in Enderlin in 1913 and moved to the Southern California area at the beginning of WW II because of work in the defense industry. Growing up in California in the 50’s and 60’s, my father often wanted to take drives to rural areas, ghost towns and the like. Now I know why. He was missing the ND Badlands and the rural roads of his youth. For many reasons thank you for sharing this video.

  13. Good stuff! Don’t be too hard on Tom I am like him and have a real soft spot for Pretty Butte, the Cannon Ball crossing where the Tenant Bros. corrals use to stand and also the Red Hills.

    Tom byt the way I beleive if I can find it I have a picture of you and I back in the day when when we were young gunslingers roaming the streets of Marmartth with our cap pistols ties low and I beleive you had your hat and chaps on. Memories!!

  14. Luv it while deer hunting with my Dad I stumbled on tepee rings and two bison skeletons on top of a coulee @ the end of that road.
    Have you explored the Cave Hills?

  15. I have driven this road many times it is a beautiful site and we went even further down and have pictures of some of the abandon places there. It lead us back home to Baker Montana but I love going through here and taking pictures and videos always see something new each time you drive it

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