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Nos. 2 to 5 spots to see in southwest North Dakota

Press File Photo A sunset fades in the horizon over Patterson Lake. The lake is a prime location for boating, fishing and camping.1 / 3
FNS File Photo Shannon Medley of Crosby, Texas, and Robert Blanchard of Florien, La., changed their RV tour route to Vancouver, B.C., to include a drive of the Enchanted Highway. "Geese in Flight," visible from Interstate 94 near Gladstone stands 110 feet tall.2 / 3
Press Photo by Royal McGregor In the background photo is The Deuce, which is the sister trail to the Maah Daah Hey Trail. The MDH Trail is the longest continuous single-track mountain biking trail in the continental United States, measured at 97 miles.3 / 3

In the second week of the top 10 spots to visit in southwestern North Dakota, I will delve into Nos. 2 through 5.

Though snowy conditions on Monday blanketed the ground, it's still spring and the weather has to warm up at some point in time, right?

Last week I wrote about the Nos. 6 through 10 spots and next week I will tell you all about the No. 1 place to visit.

No. 2: Patterson Lake

A hot spot for many of the residents of Dickinson and the surrounding area is Edward Arthur Patterson Lake.

It's a prime boating, fishing and camping spot. The entrance fee for Patterson Lake is $3 per day or $30 for a season pass that runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The recreation activities available at Patterson Lake are boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, camping, picnic areas, playgrounds, disc golf, horseshoe pits, mountain biking, nature areas and there are sand volleyball courts.

The lake covers nearly 1,190 acres and has 22 miles of shoreline. The lake is possible because of the Dickinson Dam, which was completed in 1950.

No. 3: Maah Daah Hey Trail

The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a nonprofit and non-motorized trail that extends 97 miles, which makes it the longest continuous single-track mountain biking trail in the continental United States.

The trail extends just south of Medora to 20 miles south of Watford City. It also branches out into the Buffalo Gap Trail, which brings the total miles of trail available to 140.

The trail isn't just for mountain biking either; visitors also ride horses and hike.

In the last two years, it has also drawn increasing interest from extreme marathoners, who will run the entire trail without stopping. Dave Holland, who ran cross country at Dickinson State, and Chad Brackelsberg, an extreme marathoner from Park City, Utah, each accomplished the 97-mile feat.

The trail also has a sister trail -- the Deuce -- which extends south of Medora to the Burning Coal Vein campground, which is No. 5 on the list.

No. 4: Enchanted Highway

The Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch that extends from Regent to the Gladstone exit of Interstate 94 just east of Dickinson.

The Enchanted Highway is a collection of seven of the world's largest scrap metal sculptures.

Gary Greff, who started the project in 1989, continues to maintain the stretch of highway. He also opened The Enchanted Castle in Regent in May 2012 for visitors to stay at the end of the Enchanted Highway. There is also an Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in the town of about 160 people.

No. 5: Burning Coal Vein

The Burning Coal Vein is a five-unit campground located 30 miles south of Medora.

The coal vein has fire pits, sheltered picnic tables and the Columnar Juniper area that offers a scenic lookout and a short trail south of the campground.

The campground received its name from underground burning coal, which would steam through the ground to make it appear as if the ground was on fire.

The Burning Coal Vein also marks the start of The Deuce -- the sister trail of the Maah Daah Hey Trail, which is the No. 3 on the list.