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Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park with clouds in the background

Surrounded by hills, woodlands, and mixed grass prairie, historic Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park offers guests breathtaking views of the Heart and Missouri rivers and a glimpse back in time. This scenic park located 12 miles south of Bismarck is the oldest state park in North Dakota. It was founded in 1907 as a way to preserve its history for future generations.

Today guests may learn more about the frontier soldiers who resided at Fort Abraham Lincoln and Fort McKeen as they tour reconstructed blockhouses and the furnished barracks of the commanding officer’s quarters. A replica Mandan On-A-Slant Indian Village and reconstructed earth lodges are also located within the park.

In addition to history, the park also features a large campground, picnic areas, and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and snowshoeing.

Activities

Escape back in time with a visit to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Pack your camping gear for a few nights of rest and relaxation after fun filled days of exploring, fishing, birdwatching, horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.

Be sure to schedule some time into your busy schedule for a visit to the Commissary Store and the Visitor Center. The seasonal Commissary Store, located in Cavalry Square, features an historical bookstore and a full espresso bar.

The Visitor Center has a gift shop and an impressive display of Mandan artifacts and history. The Visitor Center also features exhibits on Lewis and Clark, the Far West RiverBoat, Fort McKeen Infantry Post, Fort Abraham Lincoln Cavalry Post, and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park:

Historic Structures at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

During your visit to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park you’ll have the opportunity to take a step back in time with a glimpse into life in a native village as well as an 1870s military fortress and the Victorian-era home of George and Libbie Custer.

The Native American replica village, On-A-Slant Indian Village, showcases the Mandan village that existed here long ago. Learn more about Mandan culture as you visit the six reconstructed Earth Lodges that were discovered by Lewis and Clark in 1804. The village is open for tours during the summer.

Next visit the Military Fort with its reconstructed Commanding Officer’s Quarters, Central Barracks, Granary, Commissary, and Stables. And then take a tour of the Victorian home of George and Libbie Custer. Living history tours allow guests to experience what life might have been like here during the 1870s.

Hiking at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park has 19 miles of multi-use trails for guests to explore by foot, mountain bike, or horseback. These trails loop and connect as they wind through the hilly woodland, across mixed grass prairie and along the rivers.

Here are a few of the trails at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park:

  • Little Soldier Loop Trail – This easy 1.76 mile trail provides spectacular views of the Missouri and Heart Rivers, the On-A-Slant Village, and the city of Bismarck.
  • Bob Tailed Pass – An easy 0.88 mile trail that winds through the woodlands, prairie, and shrublands, past the Post Cemetery and connects to the Little Soldier and Bloody Knife Trail Loops.
  • Little Sioux Trail – 1.04 mile loop stretches across the park, passing through the woodlands and prairie.

Biking at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Bring your bicycle and set off across the mixed grass prairie and through the hilly woodlands surrounding Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. These multi-use trails loop and connect offering miles of scenic riding.

Here are a couple of popular trails for mountain biking inside Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park:

  • Keller Loop Trail – This 2.02 mile multi-use trail is one of the park’s newest additions. It winds through the hills and connects with the Scouts Trail.
  • Mato-tope Trail – A 1.37 mile loop through the campground, along the Missouri and Heart Rivers and near the old Northern Pacific Railroad line. This trail was named for Mato-tope (Four Bears), who lived in the On-A-Slant Village and was the son of Chief Good Boy.

Horseback Riding at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

If you’re a horse lover then you’ll want to add this North Dakota designated horse park to your list of places to visit. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park features miles of multi-use trails, 8 corrals, an equestrian camping area and other amenities for guests traveling with their horses.

Here are a couple of the trails open for riding inside Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park:

  • Scouts Trail System – This 8.79 mile multi-use pathway contains a series of loops and connecting trails over hard-packed single-track ground with some steep sections.
  • Bloody Knife Trail – A 1.97 mile loop that begins near the Post Cemetery and extends south towards the horse corrals. A section of this trail allows for hikers and horseback riders only.

Fishing at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

If you’re planning to visit Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park during the spring, summer, or fall be sure to bring your angling gear and a North Dakota fishing license. Here you’ll find plenty of opportunities to fish along the shore of both the Missouri and Heart Rivers. Popular catches include trout, catfish, salmon, walleye, northern pike, bluegill, bullhead, smallmouth bass, carp, and rock bass.

Birding at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Grab your binoculars! Ducks, Hummingbirds, Grasshopper Sparrows, Greater Prairie Chickens, Greater Sage Grouse, Lark Buntings, McCown’s Longspurs, Sedge Wrens, Wild Turkeys, Bald Eagles, American Bitterns, Black Terns, Horned Grebes, Piping Plovers, Tundra Swans, Upland Sandpipers, White Pelicans, Canada Geese, and Common Mergansers have been sighted throughout the park and surrounding woodlands.

Nature and Wildlife at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

During your visit to this scenic area surrounded by woodlands, mixed grass prairie and the two rivers you may see a variety of wildlife. Bison, White-tailed Deer, raccoons, beavers, ferrets, moose, Mountain Lion, Bighorn Sheep, elk, Red Foxes, and Black-tailed Prairie Dogs have been observed within this part of the state.

Pets

Pets are allowed inside Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park as long as they are well behaved and kept on a leash. Pets should also be supervised and cleaned up after. Pets are not permitted within park buildings, including the cabins.

Camping

Interested in staying in the area for a few days? You’ll be happy to learn that Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park has a large campground area located along the Missouri River. This serene campground has 82 campsites with electric and water, 15 campsites with water, 4 equestrian campsites with water, and 2 camping cabins.

The 2 camping cabins are nestled within the woodlands with views of the river. Each cabin has beds (for 5 guests), lights, electricity, heat and air conditioning, and a small refrigerator.

All campsites and cabins have a picnic table and fire ring and access to restrooms and showers. A playground, picnic shelters and a dump station are also located within the campground area.

Park Location

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
4480 Fort Lincoln Rd
Mandan, ND 58554
Phone: 701.667.6340

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park: