Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Fort Ridgely is a state park and historic site located in Fairfax, Minnesota. This site preserves the ruins of Fort Ridgely, where the Battle of Fort Ridgely took place during the Dakota War of 1862.

The fort was built by soldiers and carpenters who traveled from Fort Snelling on the Minnesota River on the steamboat West Newton in 1853. The people on the steamboat were ordered to build a fort on the edge of what was a Dakota reservation. Construction was complete by 1855 and developed into a community of 300 soldiers and civilians. The fort was attacked twice by Dakota Native Americans in 1862 during the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. The fort closed in 1872, and the buildings were then used by local farmers. The land was purchased as a war memorial in 1896 and designated a state park in 1911.

Visitors can learn about the history of Fort Ridgely at the museum, located near the ruins of the fort. In addition to learning about a major event in Minnesota’s history, visitors can hike or ride the 8 miles of trails on horseback, fish, and camp. In the winter, 5 miles of ungroomed cross-country skiing and 8 miles of snowmobiling are allowed within the park. Snowshoeing is welcome as long as visitors stay off of the ski trails.

There are 31 drive-in campsites (15 electric), a group camp that can accommodate up to 30 people, and a farmhouse and chalet that are all reservable. Showers and flush toilets are available from May to October, and vault toilets are located throughout the park. A seasonal dump station is also available for campers. There are two picnic areas within the park that include a shelter and playground, a sandbox, horseshoes, and an amphitheater.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Old historic site. Camping available.

Cons

None.

Features

ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Historically significant
Wildlife
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Amphitheater
Shelters
Dump stations
Picnic tables
Near lake or river
Wildflowers
Horseshoes
Potable water
Covered picnic areas

Location

Field Guide

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