Trip Planner:   USA  /  Minnesota  /  Fairfax  /  Fort Ridgely

Fort Ridgely, Fairfax

Fort Ridgely was a United States Army outpost (1853–1867) near the Dakota reservation in southwestern Minnesota (located near Fairfax). Built between 1853–1854, it was named for three officers named Ridgely who were killed in the Mexican–American War. The fort played an important role in the Dakota War of 1862. The Battle of Fort Ridgely was fought there in two engagements over August 20–22, 1862 between Army volunteers and refugees from the Minnesota River valley, and Dakota forces.

The Army abandoned the fort in 1867 and moved westward. Civilians occupied the remaining buildings and later dismantled the structures for their own use.

Today the building foundations are preserved by the Nicollet County Historical Society and owned by the Minnesota Historical Society within the boundaries of Fort Ridgely State Park. The old commissary building (partially reconstructed by the Veteran Conservation Corps in the 1930s) now houses the museum. The fort was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, while much of the park was added in 1989.
Discover how to plan a Fairfax trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.
Create an itinerary including Fort Ridgely
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
Fort Ridgely Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
23 reviews
  • We like to visit state parks and walk the Hiking Club trail. This trail had some beautiful flowers and trees. We saw a plum tree and ate its fruit, a fawn, wild flowers, and grouse. Reading about the....  more »
  • We only had about an hour or so to spend there, but it was an interesting site with a lot of information about life at the old fort and the Indian war. Saw a large turtle laying eggs along one of the....  more »
  • Nice park. EZ yet rewarding trails. Cool little museum and old fort ruins. Trails right from the nice spacious campground. Creek is beautiful and runs right alone the campground.
  • Great park. Camping by the running water is so relaxing

Plan your trip to Fairfax

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Side trips from Fairfax

Duration:2 h