Named for an 1800s military supply depot, this 586-acre North Dakota state park sits on the northern shore of Lake Sakakawea and contains a partial reconstruction of its namesake; the original is now at the bottom of this third-largest U.S. manmade lake. Located 3 miles south of Garrison, Fort Stevenson State Park features a park museum, a host of sports equipment for rent, two marinas, and an arboretum.
The park’s proximity to the lake allows for plentiful watersports and pastimes such as boating, swimming, and skating; fishing is also very popular in the park. Visitors with an interest in the area’s history will find the Guardhouse Interpretive Center highly informative with its abundant resources on this frontier military installation replica.
Fort Stevenson State Park offers a wide variety of year-round outdoor experiences for visitors, including biking, trail hiking, wildlife viewing, camping, bird-watching, fishing, boating, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and much more.
Boating and Water Activities at Fort Stevenson State Park
There are two marinas at Lake Sakakawea in Fort Stevenson State Park: the Garrison Bay and de Trobriand Bay marinas. Garrison Bay Marina is on the west side of the park and features 61 electric dock slips and 4 jet ski docks, and rentals are available here for motorboats as well as canoes, kayaks, aqua pads, paddleboats, pontoons, and SUPs.
There is also a concession stand and convenience store at this location. De Trobriand Bay Marina, on the east side of the park, features 44 electric slips and 4 buoyed moorings; both marinas have multi-lane concrete ramps with courtesy docks.
Hiking at Fort Stevenson State Park
Featuring almost 10 miles of both linear and loop trail hiking options—the majority of which are multi-use—Fort Stevenson State Park’s popular trail network provides easy routes that offer a variety of views, environments, and experiences.
For those visitors looking for a workout, the Trooper Challenge Loop trail offers 16 exercise stations with apparatus and instructions.
Here are some other popular trails at Fort Stevenson State Park:
- Flicker Loop: Easy, 2.32-mile loop trail that wends along the lake’s western shore past the Prairie Dog Town natural attraction; open to hikers, mountain bikers, and snowshoers.
- Purple Coneflower Loop: Easy, 1.08-mile loop trail through native grasslands with views of de Trobriand Bay; open to hikers, mountain bikers, and snowshoers.
- Arboretum Loop: Easy, .48-mile, hiking-only loop trail with extensive exposure to over 50 species of native plantings.
Mountain Biking at Fort Stevenson State Park
Mountain biking is permitted on 6 of the 8 trails within the park, offering nearly 9 miles of easy biking. Fat-tire bikes are available to rent year-round, and there is also a popular annual winter fat-tire bike race.
Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Other Winter Activities at Fort Stevenson State Park
Open year-round, Fort Stevenson State Park hosts all manner of winter locomotion activities. Cross-country skiing (Nordic-style) is permitted on the de Trobriand, Trooper Challenge, and Whitetail Loop Trails, and snowshoeing is allowed on the Flicker, Northern Pine, Purple Coneflower, and de Trobriand Loop trails.
There are typically several groomed trails open for kicksledding (similar to dogsleds—without the dogs), as well; these unique sleds are available to rent in the park, as well as fat-tire bikes, snowshoes, and Nordic skis.
Fishing at Fort Stevenson State Park
Lake Sakakawea is home to a wide variety of fish, and anglers can expect to catch walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappie, and salmon, among other species.
The park’s two marinas offer boat rentals, fuel, slips, tackle, docking, ramps, and bait, as well as fish cleaning stations and a concessions store that offers free WiFi and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Nature & Wildlife at Fort Stevenson State Park
The Fort Stevenson State Park is home to an abundance of birds, such as woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, thrushes, finches, and warblers. The park is also home to Prairie Dog Town, an expansive natural warren of black-tailed prairie dog burrows, very popular for families with small children.
With luck and patience, other possible wildlife sightings could include deer, bats, and weasels. Many of the hiking trails also offer a wide variety of flora as well as fauna, with over 50 species of both native and non-native plantings.
Leashed dogs are welcome, and there is a dog play area located at the southeast end of the state park, near the campground.
The Fort Stevenson State Park campground is located at the southwest end of the park and features 55 sites with full hookups (water, sewer, and 50-amp power), 56 water/electric-only sites, and 17 primitive sites; there are also 18 group sites with water/electric only.
Amenities include a convenience store, diner, playground, beach, arboretum, amphitheater, and bathrooms; there are also three cabins available for rent. The Garrison Bay marina is nearby and offers a courtesy dock, boat rentals, a boat ramp, and boat storage.
Fort Stevenson State Park
1252A 41st Avenue NW
Garrison, ND 58540-9229
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fort Stevenson State Park:
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