Fort Ridgely State Park

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Fort Ridgely State Park is located in the Prairie region of southern Minnesota near Sleepy Eye.

Fort Ridgely State Park

How to Get to Fort Ridgely State Park: Drive 12 miles north of Sleepy Eye, and then follow the signs to the park.

Park Highlights:

  • The park is situated in a valley below the ruins of a fort built in 1853. The last weekend in June, the Fort Ridgely Historic Festival commemorates the past with costumed players, crafts, music, food and entertainment. The fort is open for tours year round.
  • The Minnesota Historic Center maintains an interpretive display with exhibits of the military life of the fort and the U.S. – Dakota conflict of 1862.

Fort Ridgely's Natural Attractions: The fort is situated on a hill and deep ravines slope down on three sides. High, oak forested, bluffs overlook the Minnesota River. Other trees including ash, basswood, sugar maple, hackberry, and black cherry trees grow along Fort Ridgely Creek. In the park's meadows you will find prairie grasses and wildflowers.

Some of the wildlife you might observe in the park includes deer, fox, raccoons, minks, beavers, hawks, owls, Canada geese, wild turkeys, reptiles and songbirds.

Things to Do in Fort Ridgely State Park: This park is full of recreational opportunities. Fish in the stream, golf on the nine-hole golf course and play volleyball and horseshoes. There is a children's playground with sandbox, a baseball diamond and an amphitheater.

Eleven miles of trails wind through the park and connect to the nearby town of Fairfax. Horseback riding is permitted on 10 miles of trail.

In winter, the big sledding hill is a popular destination. Inner tubes are available to rent. Trails are open for cross-country skiing and some for snowmobiling. Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park. The Chalet serves as a warming house in winter.

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Fort Ridgely State Park Camping

Camping in Fort Ridgely State Park: The Creekside and Rustic campgrounds have a total of 31 campsites; 15 have electric hookups. There are also 3 walk-in sites, a horse camp with 25 sites (15 are electric), and a group camp with 1 site that can accommodate up to 40 people. Cabins available include the Farmhouse and Chalet. Call the park to inquire about reserving these. Depending on the campground, amenities include fire rings, picnic tables, flush and vault toilets and a dump station.

There are two picnic shelters in the park, one open and one enclosed. Each can accommodate up to 60 people. Reserve a shelter by calling the park office.

More Attractions in This Region: Visit the wonderful little Harkin Store just up County Road 21 near New Ulm, a general store from a bygone era. Costumed staff will show you the "wares" and tell you what some of these gadgets were used for and what they used to cost.

Other State Parks in This Region of Minnesota: Upper Sioux Agency State Park > Flandrau State Park > Minneopa State Park

Minnesota State Parks Guidebooks


72158 County Road 30
Fairfax, MN 55332
Phone: 507-426-7840
Fax: 507-426-7112

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